New York City hosts interfaith Diwali celebration

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From L to R: A Hindu community member, Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Human Rights Commission Carmelyn Malalis, event organizer and NYCCHR Lead Advisor Widad Hassan, Commissioner and Chair of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Bitta Mostofi, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Sunita Viswanath, founding member of Sadhana, Kajori Chaudhuri Human Rights Commission, Pragnesh Surti of ISKCON NY.

The NYC Commission on Human Rights, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, ISKCON New York City and others, hosted an interfaith Diwali celebration on Wednesday, November 14 at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Sunita Viswanath, founding member of Sadhana, gives opening remarks at the first Diwali celebration held in Brooklyn Borough Hall.

At the celebration, city, faith, and community leaders shared their prayers and messages of unity and strength at a time when xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric on the national level aims to divide communities.

Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Human Rights Commission Carmelyn Malalis speaks to a full house at Wednesday’s Diwali celebration.

Performers included Sunny Jain, founder and dhol player of the Brooklyn band Red Baraat and Grammy nominated artist Jahnavi Harrison.

Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, is a time when Hindus around the world celebrate the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.

Red Baraat closes the night with a rousing performance that got the audience on their feet.
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