Uma SenGupta Way : History made with co-naming of NYC street after community leader

Decorated photo of Uma SenGupta and the street sign displaying her name. PHOTO: Office of NYC Councilman James F. Gennaro.
Street co-naming sign put up on October 15, 2023, to recognize the contributions of Late Uma SenGupta. PHOTO: Dr. Sumita SenGupta











On Sunday, October 15, 2023, a New York City street acquired a new name, UmaSengupta Way, the first ever street-conaming after an Indian American woman, making it a milestone in the history of the Big Apple. The intersection of 152nd Street and Union Turnpike was co-named “Uma SenGupta Way” after the community leader, educationist, and Democratic District Leader.

Dr. Sumita SenGupta, daughter of the late Uma SenGupta, accompanied by Councilman Member James F. Gennaro hosted the ceremony.

New York elected officials, Attorney General Letitia James,  Queens Borough President, Donovan Richards, State Senator, John Liu,  State Senator, Leroy Comrie; Assembly Member, David Weprin; family members of elected officials, leaders like publisher Dr. Sudhir Parikh of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, and members of numerous Indian American organizations, friends, colleagues, the son of the Dr. Sumita SenGupta and the community at large participated in the street co-naming ceremony.

Dr. Sumita SenGupta told Desi Talk, she and Councilman Gennaro worked closely over a year and a half to make this co-naming a reality. Gennaro authored the City Council bill which was passed earlier this year. “It was such a memorable environment – the moment the unveiling was done by my son Sudarshana, the howling wind stopped. It was like her presence could be felt. I’m so happy because she did so much for others, and now her name will live beyond any of us,” she said.

The string being pulled by Uma SenGupta’s grandson Sudarshana, and others, to unveil the street sign showing her name, at the October 15, 2023, co-naming ceremony. PHOTO: Office of NYC Councilman James F. Gennaro.

“Uma SenGupta was well known for her activism and decades of community service. She was a trailblazer in the political scene here in Queens and beyond,” Gennaro said at the event. “It is my hope that anytime someone comes down 152nd Street and Union Turnpike they are reminded of the great legacy she leaves behind.”

Councilman James F. Gennaro, other city and state elected leaders hold up the street co-naming sign, and join Dr. Sumita SenGupta, the daughter of Uma SenGupta who holds the photo of her mother, Oct. 15, 2023. PHOTO: Office of NYC Councilman James F. Gennaro

“Affectionately known as the ‘Mother of the Community,’ the late Mrs. Uma SenGupta was a pioneer for women, educators and underserved as well as emerging immigrant groups. Through the street sign, ‘Uma SenGupta Way,’ it is our hope that New Yorkers and visitors feel the warmth of a mother’s words of encouragement, inspiring them to continue in my mother’s legacy of community development, philanthropic service, and progress for society,” Dr. Sumita SenGupta, also an educator and community leader, is quoted saying at the event.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh speaking at the Oct. 15, 2023, street co-naming of Uma SenGupta Way, as elected city and state leaders look on. PHOTO: Office of NYC Councilman James F. Gennaro.

“It is a great honor to witness the honoring of a trailblazer and community leader who started decades ago and worked really hard till the last day of her life helping all elected leaders and communities. It (street-naming) if a deserving tribute to her. God bless her and we will always remember her,” said Dr. Parikh

Similar words were said by numerous other speakers, as they described Uma SenGupta as ‘larger than life’ and a ‘pioneer’ in the service of the diverse communities in New York, India, and internationally.

“Uma spent decades fighting for social, racial and economic justice. She embodied the very spirit of Queens, and now her legacy will not be forgotten,” said Attorney General Letitia James.

“Uma SenGupta was larger than life, a trailblazer,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

New York State Senator John Liu speaking at the Uma SenGupta Way street co-naming Oct. 15, 2023, as Councilman James Gannaro, Dr. Sudhir Parikh and others look on. PHOTO: ITV Gold

Other speakers included State Senator John Liu, who mentioned his “many memories of her personally,” as well; State Sen. Leroy Comrie who called her a ‘trailblazer’; and State Assemblyman David Weprin who described her as a ‘pioneer.’

Uma SenGupta came to New York almost 60 years ago with her husband, the-late Suprabhat SenGupta to build a new life and live the American dream.

Elected officials and community leaders pose below the street sign co-naming 152nd street as Uma SenGupta Way, Oct. 15, 2023. PHOTO: ITV Gold

She founded a Montessori school in Flushing, Queens, that provided high quality early childhood education for over 38  years.

“Uma SenGupta was well known for her work in the community in which she diligently worked for Indian Americans to have a voice, access and equity,” noted the press release.

Her work as an educationist, activist and community leader received several recognitions, which led to her making history in January 2004, by becoming the first Indian American person to be sworn in as the Democratic Party District Leader of the 25th Assembly District, Part B, in the borough of Queens.

Uma SenGupta’s work centered around social change, encouraging minorities, women and marginalized populations to become more actively involved in the political process for effectuating positive change in several communities including  Asian, Caribbean, Latino and African American, where she worked to get candidates elected to office.

She went beyond local issues to promote strengthening the friendship between India and the United States because of their shared values and commitment to freedom. She supported national and international causes promoted quality education, health care, elder care, women’s rights, equality, human rights, and environmental protection, tirelessly advocating for clean quality water for all, enriching and inclusive education programs for children and families.

She worked with lawmakers to pass legislation to prevent hate crimes against immigrants, especially for people who wore cultural or religious attire, such as Sikhs wearing a turban who faced violence and discrimination. She worked on healthcare for immigrants and immigrant seniors. She initiated a sustainable development project that provided fresh clean drinking water to several rural improvised villages within West Bengal, India, through the Give Me Water Project.

Uma SenGupta received more than 64 national and international awards that recognized her dedication to numerous life-changing initiatives.



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