Mayor Eric Adams Urges Everyone to live daily life according to Diwali sentiments

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The traditional lighting of the lamp at Diwali celebration hosted by New York City Mayor Eric Adams at his residence October 25, 2022. Participating in the lamp lighting are Adams (left), New York State Assembly Member Jennifer Rajkumar (second from left), Deputy Commissioner
Dilip Chauhan, Trade and Investment, Mayor’s Office of International Affairs (third from right),
and priests Pundit Chaitanya Anand Das and Pundit Radhanath Swami. Photo: courtesy Mayor’s office

A crowd of over 1,000 Indian Americans and Caribbean Americans cheered New York’s Mayor Eric Adams as he acknowledged the contribution of Indian Americans to the city at the Diwali celebration hosted by him at his residence, the Gracie Mansion, October 25, 2022.

“You worked hard and opened small businesses, and you sent your children to school to learn different skills so they can be deputy mayors and doctors and leaders of agencies and help our city move forward. You fortify the strength of our city,” Adams said.

Invoking the spirit of Diwali in the hearts, Adams said it was time to have a dialogue and stop the hate in NYC. “We need to be the beacon of light that shows the country how we need to push away darkness,” he said. He said NYC has to set an example by communicating and integrating. “It is every day that we must live at that magnitude and at that height,” Adams said.

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In his speech, Adams hailed women power and said Sita was a strong woman who did not succumb to all the riches, all the glory that the darkness wanted to provide for her, and stood firm and committed. If Diwali is an upliftment, it must include women, he said, adding that NYC must become a city to acknowledge the role of women. Adams said his administration is the first one to have 5 women in important positions, of a police commissioner, a chief of the Department of Sanitation, a chief of probation, and a chief advisor.

Adams also recognized the support of Emblem Health and George Holtz who have supported all of the cultural events of the mayor’s administration, bringing together various groups. He also acknowledged the selfless and generous work of feeding thousands of people regardless of their religion or color of skin during the pandemic by the Sikh Gurudwara members.

Present at the celebration were notable Indian American dignitaries including New York State Senator Kevin Thomas, New York Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar, City Council Member Shekar Krishnan, City Council Member Amanda Farías, City Council Member Linda Lee, Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala, Commissioner Ashwin Vasan of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan of Trade and Investment Department of the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, Ingrid Lewis-Martin who is the Chief Advisor to the Mayor, community leaders and community workers. New York Consul General of India, Randhir Jaiswal was a special guest.

Council Member Krishnan spoke about the strength of the South Asian Indo-Caribbean communities urging them to unite to work for the legislature for Diwali as a school holiday. Council Member Linda Lee said as the first Korean American, she and her colleague Julie Won were proud to fight alongside colleagues Krishnan and Farías to make sure that our community voices are heard. Assembly Member Rajkumar spoke of her parents who came as immigrants with almost nothing but now have a daughter in the state administration. She ascribed her success to goddess Durga. “As Hindus, we don’t just tolerate people who are different than us. We go one step further and we actively love them. And it’s time for us to shine our light, our dharmic light, across the entire country,” Rajkumar said.

The traditional lighting of the clay lamp was led by Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan, Trade and Investment, Mayor’s Office of International Affairs and performed by Pundit Chaitanya Anand Das and Pundit Radhanath Swami. Speaking about the support of the Indian American community for Adams, Chauhan said Indian Americans from all the boroughs of Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx, and from Long Island and Westchester, upstate New York, had come out to the Diwali celebration to show their support.

Chauhan also conducted a recognition award ceremony for their contribution and outstanding community work by organizations and their representatives, which included Dr. Thomas Abraham of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, Mr. Rangaswami of Indiaspora, two times Grammy nominee and Grammy Award winner, Falguni Shah; Ankur Vaidya of the Federation of the Indian Association; Lakra Maharaj of Tulsi Mandir and community leader Romeo Hitlal.

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