Weprin Hosts South Asian Advisory Panel; Anti-Violence, Rise in Hate Crimes among Topics Discussed

Fresh Meadows, New York – Assemblyman David Weprin and Councilman Barry Grodenchik joined community leaders, residents, and governmental representatives at the 24th Assembly District South Asian Advisory Panel this Sunday. The afternoon panel discussion marked the third meeting of the 24th Assembly District South Asian Advisory Panel in 2016 and fifth meeting overall.

Launched in 2015 and comprised of local leaders from the Muslim, Sikh & Hindu communities, in addition to representatives from city agencies and community organizations, the 24th Assembly District’s South Asian Advisory Panel aims to foster increased dialogue between the South Asian community and government by offering a direct channel for communication.

Weprin started off the discussion by remarking on the recent rise in hate crimes across the city and nationwide. “A hate crime against one of us is a hate crime against all of us, and we must stand together against each one of these incidents” Weprin said. Grodenchik also addressed the audience and noted that there had been an increase in hate crimes against people of all races and religions through the election period in 2016; including incidents of Anti-Semitism and crimes against people with a South Asian background. In November, Weprin and Grodenchik held a press conference to condemn the recent rise in hate related incidents and demand President-Elect Trump denounce the rise in hate.

Remarks from the elected officials were followed by presentations from Tanjila Rahman of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, Keerthana Nimmala of the Immigration Intervention Project at Sanctuary for Families, Dr. Ming-der Chang, Ph.D of New York-Presbyterian/Queens Hospital, and New York City Anti-Violence Project Equal Justice Works Fellow Nishan Bhaumik. Bhaumik used part of his time to address possible actions to take if one witnesses harassment, like offering consolation to the one being attacked while averting the attacker’s presence.

Other topics discussed included the city’s IDNYC program, the benefit of kosher and halal lunches in public schools and the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of 150th Street and 87th Road near the Darus Salam Mosque traffic light; a necessity first conceived at a South Asian Advisory Panel meeting.