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.