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.
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.