Uma SenGupta: Woman of Substance (Jan. 1, 1935-March 9, 2022)

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Uma SenGupta (Jan. 1, 1935-March 9, 2022). Photo: courtesy family

Mrs. Uma SenGupta was a true woman of substance and a pioneer who made history throughout her life. She came to New York over 60 years ago with her husband, the late Suprabhat SenGupta to build a new life that actualized the American dream as well as built a strong foundation for the Indian American Community which espoused the great values of both India and America.

Mrs. SenGupta, a lifelong educationist, founded in Flushing, Queens, New York, a Montessori School that provided high quality early childhood education for over 38 years. Mrs. 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. Her work as an educationist, activist and community leader received several recognitions which led her to make history in January 2004, by becoming the first Indian American woman to be sworn in as the Democratic Party District Leader of the 25th Assembly District, Part B, in the Borough of Queens.

In her various roles that supported the community, she became an iconic figure for social change, encouraging minorities, women and marginalized populations to become more actively involved in the political process for effectuating positive change. She supported the activism of new immigrants, including many Asian, Caribbean, Latino and African American candidates to be elected to office in various positions in the justice system as well as local, state and federal governments.

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Uma SenGupta was a life-long humanitarian who supported national and international causes that promoted quality education, health care, elder care, women’s rights, equality, human rights, and environmental protection. She tirelessly advocated for clean quality water for all, more academically enriching and inclusive programs for children and families with a strong focus on overall improvement of the quality of life here in the United States as well as in India. She was affectionally referred to as the “Mother of the Community.” A grandmother and a great grandmother, she often introduced herself as not only the mother but also the grandmother of the community. She was considered a heroine as well as a trailblazer for the community by working with lawmakers to pass legislation that stopped hate crimes against immigrants, especially for people who wore cultural or religious attire, such as Sikhs wearing a turban who had faced violence due to discrimination. She worked for more robust programs in education for school-year-aged children, 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 was a crucial force in positively improving the quality of life for all its inhabitants as well as decreasing the mortality rates of the village children.

Uma SenGupta received over 64 national and international awards that recognized her tremendous efforts in working for the benefit of all communities. She passed the torch for global community service to her daughter, Dr. Sumita SenGupta, an educationist and community leader, to continue her legacy. Mrs. Uma SenGupta was a dynamic, purpose-driven, compassionate individual and a genuine citizen of the world.  Our prayers for peace follow her, and she will be truly missed by all.

(Obituary provided by Family)

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