Indian Diaspora Council

Ashook Ramsaran’s Speech - Unveiling of Street Sign Co-naming 1 blk of 169th St on May 25, 2019

Good morning, salutations and greetings – to Judith, Romanee, Jagdesh and the entire Kalicharran family.
Consul Generals of Indian and Guyana; Hon. Council Member Rory Lancman; other officials, friends, and everyone in attendance here today. Thanks to Romanee and her helpers to organize this outstanding event to mark a historic event.
Firstly: On Monday we commemorate Memorial Day in the USA and I request that we all take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of those who secure and preserve our freedom, and make it possible for us to be doing what we are doing here today – here or at your own convenience.
In addition to the numerous plaques, praises and poojas, here today is a permanent marker to honor the life and legacy of Ramesh Kalicharran – husband, father, brother, friend, advisor and mentor – a community icon and well known cultural advocate and unwavering supporter.
This is an historic moment – a street co-named for KALI. This is a public acknowledgement and recognition

Our brother and friend did not ask for this – But we all know that it is well deserved.
And I am enormously honored to be part of it.
It began on a sad day at the wake on December 4, 2017.
With short notice, I encouraged and assisted AM Weprin to produce a NYS posthumous proclamation which he presented to Judith at the wake on December 4, 2017.
I followed with my remarks — and I realized right at that moment that I had to do something significant to honor my fiend and brother Ramesh Kalicharran. I could not let that moment pass without making a bold, unprecedented commitment – to co-name 169th Street as “Kali Way”. It was the right thing to do and the right moment to do so.

Overwhelming applause welcomed my announcement.

Lots of guidance, advice and encouragement by those who know. I could not have done it without them. The process was long – filing the application, justification, my presentations to several organizations for their support, many letters of support, hearings at Borough Hall, Hillcrest Jewish Center and C/Board #8. Not all was smooth – some administrative delay. But the application had merit and enormous support. The bill was passed by NY City Council into law – December 2018. Yes, it was a successful effort as we are witnessing here today.
Thanks to all who helped, encouraged, advised, mentored and guided the effort throughout the long process:
First and foremost – Judith for her consent to the application from the inception; to Romanee and Jagdesh and other members of the family for their support and encouragement.

NYC Council Member Rory Lancman and his staff – Massis, Henry and others

NYS Assembly Member David Weprin and his staff – Anthony, Muhammed, Sumeet, Janna and others

Marie Adam-Ovide – District Manager Community Board #8

CB#8 and its Transportation Committee – Martha Taylor, Kevin Forrestal, Mark Haden, Harbachan Singh, Dilip Nath and others

Jeff Gottlieb – Mid Queens Community Council

Abe Fuchs – Mid Queens Community Council

Kevin Forrestal, Jim Gallagher – Queens Civic Congress

My colleagues at Indian Diaspora Council – Santram Dukhbhanjan, Peter Persaud and Jhairam Persaud, Dr. Sharla Khargi, Vidur Dindyal (UK) and others

Prof. Roopnarain Persaud & Rev Seopaul Singh – Indo-Caribbean Cultural Council

Patricia Jordan-Langford – Guyana Tri-State Alliance

Dilip Nath- New American Voter Association

Mohammed Hack – Interfaith Council Comm. Development

Dr Dhanpaul Narine – Shri Trimurti Bhavan

Richie Lipkowitz – Indian Jewish Council

Vishnu Mahadeo – Richmond Hill Economic Development

Richard David, Taj Rajkumar – District Leaders

Farouk Khan – Community and Political Advocate

Anoop Dhanpat – Trinidadians & Tobagans USA

Francis Persaud – Canada

The West Indian, Indo-Caribbean World – and others

And importantly – the late Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall.

And many others whose names I may have missed.

Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement.


Following the success of Kali Way, I was encouraged by Pat Langford to lead the effort to co-name 1 block of 144th Street bet 85th Road and 86th Ave as Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall Way – the street where the Arya Spiritual Center is located.

The request has been submitted to CM Lancman and CB#8.

I am sure Kali would want that too and he would be proud of it – Well deserving NEIGHBORS 169th & 144th Streets.


Indian Diaspora Council is working with UNESCO and other entities to establish a Caribbean Heritage Museum in New York. The remarkable histories of both Kali and Pandit Ramlall would belong in that museum.


To Judith, Romanee, Jagdesh and the Kali family – Thank you for sharing this moment and best wishes.