Elected Officials and Community Leaders Honored
By Nala Singham
RICHMOND HILL, QUEENS (March 27, 2022): It was an evening of celebration honoring the recognition of outstanding citizens in the service to the community, organized by the founder of ICCD, visionary Dr. Mohammed Hack.
In this historic occasion, coinciding with Women’s History Month, four newly elected woman judges of the county of Queens, New York were honored.
Karen Gopee, the first Indo-Caribbean woman to be elected as Supreme Court Judge, stated, “And knowing that these young women are opening the doors; breaking through the glass ceiling and opening the window for our children – the next generation. I am so excited to be here as the first probably and not for too long for now and thoroughly not the last.” Judge Gopee, who hails from Trinidad and Tobago, attended the function with her two children.
Soma Syed became the first Bangladeshi woman judge to be elected in the United States of America. Queens county civil court judge Soma remarked, “humanity, equality and justice all go together, regardless of where we came from; regardless of your religion”. She attended the event with her husband Nizam Chowdery.
Andrea S. Ogle of Indo-Caribbean descent, born in Guyana, made the Guyanese community proud on being elected as the first Guyanese to be elected as Queens County Civil Court judge.
The fourth judge to be honored was Cassandra Johnson, who became the first Haitian to be elected as a judge in Queens County. Born in the United States, her inspiration to her success was her mother, a Haitian-immigrant who worked her way to be an attorney.
Honored from various religious background, were Rabbi Mark Daniels representing the Jewish faith, Guyanese Imam Saffrus Bachhus of the Al-Abidin Mosque representing the Muslim faith, Pandit Seenath Seeratan of Sri Devi Mandir representing the Hindu faith, Deacon Clifford Dufus from the 7th Day Adventist church and Davinder Singh Danny from the Gurduwara on 114 street, Richmond Hill representing the Sikh community, who remarked “If a woman can run a kitchen, she can run a government”, which brought arousing applause from the audience, especially the women.
Melinda Katz, the first woman elected to serve as Queens County District Attorney in the City of New York was honored too and Dr. Mohammed Hack, had worked with Katz, when she was Queens Borough President, which Hack reminisced.
Melinda Katz remarked “part of what we do for new Americans; we try to promote justice”.
New York State Senator Leroy Comrie was honored along with James Bonaparte – Vice President of ICCD, Salim Syed – General Secretary of ICCD, Board members – Varinder Singh, Ramesh Persaud, Bina Angelini and Bibi Hack, spouse of Mohammed Hack who stood by him for 48 years. Ali Azmi, a lawyer and founder of South Asian Indo-Caribbean Bar Association and Dennis Miller, former City Council member were honored.
Honored were Joe Ebony from the Jamaica Rotary Club and Ashook Ramsaran from the Indian Diaspora Council.
The Indian Diaspora Council International honored the four women judges of Queens, with Dev Gosain and Dr. Sharla Khargi assisting in giving away the awards.
Deputy Chief of the NYPD, South Queens Deodat Urpersaud was honored and he is responsible for the 36% reduction of crime in Queens, and he made history as the first Guyanese and Indo-Caribbean to be promoted as Deputy Chief.
Naresh Gehi, Queens lawyer who had served the Queens community for the past 25 yeas was honored. He is now the advisor on immigration matters to the government of Suriname, South America and on the advisory board at the White House. Gehi’s offbeat remark “behind every unsuccessful man are two to three women” brought the house down.
A posthumous award for late Mohammed Salim who was a member of ICCD was presented to his daughter Tahira Salim by Shafina Baksh,who is representing Adrian Adams, the Speaker of New York City Council.
Mohamed Hack the founder of ICCD has stepped down from the presidency of ICCD and has given the post to an ambitious young man, Zaid Khan, who is aiming for a project of $10 million dollars at the 10th anniversary of this organization. Currently at the 8th year and by the 10th year, the organization will have it’s own building.
In the audience was the Director for asset management for the entire Walgreens, Mr. Stein.
Investor Malik Anjum from UAE was present, and he is handling projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and bringing finance to many third world countries, and he is keeping up with the new president Zaid Khan.