By Mohamed Alim Hassim
QUEENS, NEW YORK — New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Wednesday honored three community organizations for their outstanding contributions to the development of New York City and for their roles in helping to preserve the diversity of the city.
The organizations — Chhaya Community Development Corporation, the South Asian Council for Social Services and the Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Nepal in America — were recognized when the Comptroller hosted his annual Diwali Celebration in an auditorium at the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
“Part of what we do tonight is honor people and organizations who make a difference in our community, because that is how we celebrate our progress,” the comptroller told the packed auditorium.
He recognized the presence of leaders and representatives of various sections of the South Asian diaspora in New York City, including the Indo-Caribbean community, noting, “This is really what America is all about. This is what New York is all about.”
Stringer noted that while the President of the United States is trying “to tear down the diversity of our country,” here in New York “we fight back.”
The comptroller thanked the audience for making the evening special and recognized the presence of State Senator Roxanne Persaud, who has Indo-Guyanese roots. The comptroller also thanked Pandit Manoj Jadubans of the Shaanti Bhavan Mandir in Richmond Hill, who led the gathering in opening prayers, while the comptroller was joined by District Leader (Assembly District NY-25) Dr Neeta Jain, and heads of the three honored organizations, in the ceremonial lighting of the diya.
The evening’s entertainment, in the form of a dance, was presented by the Queens College Bhangra Knights.
Chhaya Community Development Corporation was founded in 2000 to advocate for the housing needs of New York City’s South Asian community. Its mission is to work with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for, and build economically stable, sustainable and thriving communities.
The Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Nepal in America (FIPNA) is a not for profit organization with the primary objectives of preserving and promoting the indigenous cultures of the Nepali communities and help enrich the diversity of New York City. The organization also advocates for immigrants’ rights and helps in the empowerment of the Nepali communities in the ‘mainstreaming’ process.
The South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) was founded in 2000 with the mission to empower underserved South Asians and other immigrants to actively engage in the economic and civic life of New York. While it started as a healthcare and social services agency, it has grown and adapted to the changing needs of the community it serves.