By LEON SUSERAN
Newly-minted New York State Assembly Member, Jenifer Rajkumar, is ready to use all tools necessary to fight the coronavirus pandemic in her district.
The new assemblywoman held a mask and sanitizer distribution on Sunday, January 17, 2021 in front of the Baba Makhan Shah Lubana Gurdwara Skih Temple located at 113 Street and 101 Avenue in South Richmond Hill in Queens.
Rajkumar, who is the Assembly member of District 38, was joined by Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, as well as volunteers who all emphasized the importance of wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
At the time of penning this article, the Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park communities have had one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in New York City—16.91 percent. This new high sparked a huge response in recent days and weeks, from community leaders, elected officials and even local Non- profit organizations with one central theme and message: wear a mask.
It was this spike in infection that motivated the young assemblywoman to host the event that day, in collaboration with the Richmond Hill Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
“It is time that we change that (Richmond Hill’s high positivity rate).., so we’re out here giving PPE (personal protective equipment) to the whole community and we’re gonna make sure that we lower our rates, and save lives in Richmond Hill!” a passionate Rajkumar said.
“We’re getting PPE out in our community…we’re raising awareness, and we’re also getting Covid testing sites, all around the district, because the earlier we catch Covid, the better your chances of survival,” she added.
The State Assemblywoman also noted that she is trying to get the state to establish more vaccination sites around the area so that more South Queens residents can have access to a vaccine. “So all of these initiatives, plus legislation and policy that’s going to close the loopholes in our healthcare system that make people vulnerable at this time.”
“We’re also working on banks to remedy the economic crisis that we are currently in. So many of the small businesses along 101 Avenue are struggling in this very difficult time, and I’m here to cut through the red tape—that’s why I’ve joined the State Assembly Small Business Committee.”
Since South Queens having a limited number of mass vaccination sites, and when asked to speak on this issue, Ms Rajkumar stated that she has been working with the Governor’s office, “to make sure that we have vaccination sites around here…Aqueduct Race Track has already been set up as a vaccination site, and we should see more coming soon.”
The Assemblywoman advised residents of the Richmond Hill/Ozone Park communities to stay safe, “and watch all your movements…small things make a big difference, wear a good mask, wash your hands—we just have to make it for four more months…can you do that for me—I want you all to stay alive, so we can all come out of this crisis.”
Brooklyn Borough President Adams thanked the Assemblywoman for organizing the activity, “because she is focused on the Covid virus.”
The elected official recommended there be a database of eligible persons for vaccination. “I think this is going to be a long battle, the more organized we are, the easier it is to beat Covid 19—a disorganized effort is going to make it even more challenging.”
Also represented at the distribution event were: Mohammad Sohail Rana from Senator Anna Kaplans office, and Mr Vishnu Mahadeo of the EDC of Richmond Hill.