Indian Diaspora Council

IDC Supports More Specialized High School Seats in New York City

IDC Supports More Specialized High School Seats in New York City

The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) endorses more specialized high school seats in New York City by participating in a community rally held on June 24, 2018 at the steps of Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, New York. The rally brought together several community organizations and advocates in support of the keeping Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) and creating more specialized high school seats in New York City. The rally was organized by the Diversity and Achievement (DNA) Coalition, spearheaded by John Albert of “Taking Our Seat”. Contact: albert@takingourseat.org.

Statement by the Diversity and Achievement (DNA) Coalition:
“The most straightforward solution: create more schools that have a rigorous curriculum that all children have the opportunity to access. We can all agree that the school system is leaving many kids behind. Talented kids of all backgrounds should have access to a top-notch education”.

“Queens Stands to Lose the Most under NYC Mayor’s Plan:
Phase 1 of the Mayor’s plan will set aside extra help for admission to those students who come from schools with high rates of poverty. Queens neighborhoods are on average richer than Brooklyn, Bronx and Manhattan neighborhoods. but not by much. That means Queens kids won’t compete on a level ground in Phase 1 of the Mayor’s Plan. The solution: more seats”.
Phase 2 of NYC Mayor’s plan eliminates the SHSAT altogether and sets aside seats to the “top” students in each middle school. Fewer Queens students will earn entry into these schools, those few who are eligible will be forced to travel long distances. There are fewer specialized high school seats in Queens than in the other boroughs (except for Staten Island). The solution: more seats – in Queens”

The program was moderated by Miguel Herrera. Speakers included: NYS Assemblyman Ron Kim; NYS Assemblyman David Weprin; David Lee (Chinese American Citizens Alliance); Tahseen Chowdhry (Stuyvesant HS graduate); Wah Wah Chin (Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York); Mazeda Uddin (SAFE); Kenneth Chiu (Coalition of Asian American Civil Rights); Ashook Ramsaran (Indian Diaspora Council International); Rokeya Akhter (New American Voter Association); Darrell Sukdeo (Indo-Caribbean Advocate); several other community advocates. and students of SUNY and other schools.

Remarks by Ashook Ramsaran, President of Indian Diaspora Council International: “New York City is the greatest city with most opportunities in education. There are opportunities for excellence in education which go hand-in-hand with excellence in education. The goal is to encourage and reward excellence in education, not to discourage high achievers. More specialized schools are better for encouraging more students to achieve higher levels of performance. Everyone benefits because all students strive for higher achievements. All parents in Queens and all of New York City should be more involved. Our kid’s education matters. Our voices are important in this struggle for progress in education by being partners for excellence in education. IDC supports more seats in specialized schools and keeping the SHSAT tests”.

Photos - community rally held on June 24, 2018

(l-r) Miguel Herrera, Phil Wong, John Albert, Ashook Ramsaran, Wah Wah Chin

“Kali” Way Street Co-Naming Approved by Community Board

"Kali” Way Street Co-Naming Approved by Community Board

The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) is pleased to announce that the initiative by IDC president Ashook Ramsaran co-naming 1 block of 169th Street between Highland Avenue and Hillside Avenue, Jamaica, New York, in honor of the late Ramesh D. Kalicharran, affectionately known as “Kali”, has been approved at a public hearing of Community Board #8 on June 20, 2018. Ramesh D. Kalicharran, who was born 1949 in Guyana and lived in New York since 1970, passed away on December 3, 2017.

IDC statement on its application for co-naming 1 block of 169th Street: “Ramesh Kalicharran, popularly known as Kali, was an outstanding community stalwart, a prominent and well recognized cornerstone of the community, having pioneered several programs and events which promoted the interests of Indo-Caribbean people in New York and the Caribbean. He is widely recognized for his advocacy, philanthropy and exemplary contributions to charitable and community causes; for his exemplary contributions to his community and the promotion of Indian culture and heritage. He was an icon among Indo-Caribbean people with a long lasting legacy of selfless service. He was an extraordinary community leader who led by example. In recognition of his tremendous contribution to the Guyana diaspora, he has received several citations and awards Asian-Indian, the Indo-Caribbean, and Other Ethnic American communities in New York. Kali was a proud ambassador for Guyana in particular, and the Caribbean, in general”.

The initiative and continuing efforts for co-naming the 1 block of 1269th Street by Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) was led by Ashook Ramsaran who worked diligently and collaboratively in obtaining approval of NYC Council Member Rory Lancman on January 9, 2018 followed by several other elected officials, including NYS Assembly Member David Weprin who issued a posthumous proclamation in honor of “Kali”. Crucial organizational support was given on January 14, 2018 by Mid-Queens Community Council (MQCC) followed by formal application to Queens Comm. Board #8 (CB#8) on January 17, 2018.

Following a formal presentation to CB#8 Transportation Committee by Ashook Ramsaran on April 26, 2018 attended by Ms. Romanee Kalicharran (daughter of late Ramesh Kalicharran) and Mr. Santram Dukhbhanjan, the CB#8 Transportation Committee gave its unanimous approval. Following the presentation by family, community leaders and associates at the public hearing on May 14, 2018, CB#8 Transportation Committee gave its further approval paving the way for the general meeting on June 20, 2018 at which passage of the application was approved by a vote of 24 to 7 in favour.

Speakers in support of the application at the public hearing on June 20, 2018 were: Romanee Kalicharran (daughter) accompanied by Judith Kalicharran (spouse); Rev. Seopaul Singh (Caribbean Network Enterprises); Anoop Dhanpat (Trinidadians & Tobagians in USA); Harbachan Singh (Queens Civic Congress; Ashook Ramsaran (Indian Diaspora Council). Other family members and supporters attended.

Following the step-by-step progress and successes to date and with no opposition, the application is expected to be fully approved with an estimated installation and unveiling before the end of 2018.

“Kali” Family & IDC Members at the June 20, 2018 Public Hearing

Ashook Ramsaran Awards Outstanding Students at PS90 Queens 2018

Ashook Ramsaran Awards Outstanding Students at PS90 Queens 2018

Continuing his 14-year partnership with PS90 Queens Horace Mann School in New York, Ashook Ramsaran presented awards and certificates of merit to 6 outstanding and deserving high achievers selected from the 5th grade graduating class of 2018. The “Stepping Up” ceremony was held on June 19, 2018 at Richmond Hill High School in Queens, New York.

In addition to the financial awards, each of the 6 students received a Ramex certificate of outstanding achievement. Ramex is a manufacturing company in Queens, New York founded by Ramsaran who is also the president of Indian Diaspora Council International, Vice President of Queens Civic Congress and Chair of New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital Community Advisory Council.

“The PS90Q “Stepping Up” ceremony is always an exciting event for me as I witness the happy faces of you, the graduating students and your proud parents, as well as principal and staff who are committed to the wellbeing and success of the students. I urge all of you students to be steadfast in pursuing education for a bright future ahead”, said Ramsaran in his remarks to PS90Q graduating class of 2018.

Ramsaran serves as Principal-for-the-Day (PDAF) for the past 14 years at PS90Q located at 86-50 109th Street and has established a continuing partnership with the school which has an enrollment of 830 catering to Grades 1-5, Pre-K and Special Ed, and with a significant percentage of students of South Asian and Caribbean origin.

6 High Achievers Students with PS90Q Principal Adrienne Ubertini (2nd from left) and, Ashook Ramsaran (far right)