NY City Council candidate warns against potential bias attacks against Indians, South Asians

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May 16, 2021 vigil held under the leadership of Harpreet Singh Toor, candidate for New York City Council from District 23 in Queens. Photo: courtesy Toor For City Council.

An Indian-American candidate for City Council in New York is warning of the potential for increasing hate crimes against those of South Asian origin, as the COVID-19 variant reportedly from India is identified in the United States.

Harpreet Singh Toor, candidate for City Council District 23 in Eastern Queens, held an anti-hate vigil May 16, 2021, in front of his Hillside Avenue campaign headquarters as part of his awareness raising campaign designed to stem the rising hate crimes, including against those of Asian descent.

The Democratic primary is scheduled to be held June 22, 2021, and Toor is pitted against several other Democratic candidates, from minority communities including several Indian-Americans like Jaslin Kaur, Thomas Koshy, and Sanjeev Jindal. Early voting for this primary began June 12.

“The number of recent unprovoked, bias-motivated violent acts against Asians, wrongly blaming them for the Pandemic, is shocking,” Toor is quoted saying at the vigil.  “Now, as India has become the focal point for the world Covid crisis I fear that South Asian-Americans will become the next hate target du jour. I urge South-Asians to be on their guard, while working with all Americans to de-escalate the spike in hate crimes.”

The May 16 candlelight vigil called for and end to the hate-crime “epidemic”.

Among the speakers at the vigil were Steve Behar, another District 23 candidate; the current Council member Barry Grodenchik; Queensboro Temple of Seventh-day Adventist Pastor Kyron Johnson and community leader and former District 23 candidate Satnam Singh Parhar.

“The origins of the tsunami of hate currently sweeping across America run long and deep in some parts of our society,” Toor said, including in recent days when “blatant, unprovoked, bias attacks” were taking place, despite the election of a Democratic President like Joe Biden.

“But recent headlines prove me wrong. Now is the time for all good citizens to unite in the fight against hate.”

Toor says efforts to create unity amongst all of the diverse communities of District 23 are a centerpiece of his campaign. “When will we stop tearing each other down?” he asks.  “The time for unity, acceptance, love and understanding is now.”

District 23 includes the neighborhoods of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

On his website toorforcitycouncil.com, the Indian-American candidate calls for a fair share of vaccines for all, mental health service, economic relief for people and businesses, and in his district, a full return on investment of taxpayer dollars, as well as a fair share of city services like schools, public safety, healthcare and senior services.

According to his profile, Toor arrived in New York City in 1983 from Punjab with only a few dollars in his pocket, “and no idea where he would live or work.”

Toor settled in the Richmond Hill section of Queens.  For the next nearly 40-years, the candidate says, he “has worked on behalf of the people of Queens,’ and embodied the values of hard work, determination, and  respect for others, values that continue to guide him today.

“While Harpreet will build on his record of his creative problem solving to improve our schools, support small business, increase public safety, ease the burdens faced by taxi owners and drivers, seniors, and families, his number one priority will be on resolving the problems resulting from the Pandemic crises,” his website says.

 

 

 

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