# 10. Say Goodbye to the Flea Market
After a 25 year run, this winter saw the permanent closure of the historic Aqueduct Flea Market. Gone with it are over 1,500 jobs, many of which included Indo-Caribbean entrepreneurs, laborers, not to mention an important source for obtaining products to use here and to send back home. On the other hand, many businesses on Liberty are expecting sales to rise with the closure. ICA is proud of our efforts to bring awareness of this issue, organize the vendors and find new locations for the merchants. Wish for next year: The new "racino" will not overburden our already stretched infrastructure, but rather bring new investments and economic development to the neighborhood.
# 9. Albert Baldeo's 3rd Run for City Council
Determined to be the face of Indo-Caribbean political arrival in New York City, Albert Baldeo ran a record third time. He championed his service to the community (not just Indo-Caribbeans), his professional background and unrewarded contributions to the Queens County Democratic Party. Although unsuccessful, he did bag the coveted post of District Leader. Even with this, skeptics continue to wonder if this campaign does more harm than good for Indo-Caribbean Americans.
# 8. Bad Business in Little Guyana?
Richmond Hill and South Queens continued to record some of the nations highest rates of foreclosures. Hundreds of families lost their homes, several well know real estate firms disappeared, mortgage firms closed shop and some prominent business people are under investigation.
# 7. The 11th Annual Diwali Motorcade
Decorated vehicles gracefully moved along Liberty Avenue as spectators joined in to follow the procession of tassa bands, mandir groups and the Grand Marshals: Chan Jamoona, John Liu and Christine Quinn. Some of the vehicles matched the best you would see in the Caribbean, the performances were quite good and the prayer was well received. It may have been the biggest Motorcade so far, although not many braved the cold to attend the pre-Motorcade Cultural Show. Props for trying something different. Noteworthy was the involvement of numerous young people managing the event and in attendance. ICA was proud to be a part of the team and specifically to help with fundraising and public relations. Wish for next year: Lining up the dozens of vehicles after the motorcade for everyone to observe and admire.
# 6. The Ed Ahmad - Gregory Meeks Relationship
The peculiar relationship between prominent real estate broker and businessman Ed Ahmad and Congressman Gregory Meeks offered enough fodder for the NY Daily News and other major papers to outlast the recession. And, it does not seem to be over.
# 5. The 25th Annual Indian Arrival Day
Not just another cultural show, but an event aimed at sensitizing us about our unique history in the Americas. The event was well attended, beautiful weather and a lot of energy. ICA was proud to participate at this event by holding a Health Fair. Wish for next year: A greater emphasis on the history of our migration via photo displays, video footage and/or narrations.
# 4. A Women's Movement
The 3-day Sisterhood & Solidarity Summit by the Jahajee Sisters was scholarly, carefully crafted and delightfully entertaining. Excited to see the next summit. Wish for next year: Broaden the marketing of the event to include more non-academic types.
# 3. The 21st Annual Phagwah Parade
Once again the community came out by the thousands for what may very well be the largest gathering of Indo-Caribbeans anywhere in North America. The parade was filled with beautifully designed floats, families thronged the parade route and colorful abeer was everywhere. The event was well publicized, passed off safely and folks seemed to have a great time. ICA was proud to march in the parade and our volunteers assisted with the set up. Wish for next year: Something refreshing next year, more careful screening of the guest speakers (notably, Rick Lazio) and better on-sight preparation & coordination in the event set-up.
# 2. Electing Kamla Persaud-Bissessar
The local campaign touched many individuals, Trinis and non-Trinis alike. From fundraisers, to rallies and endless Facebook messages. Finally, it all seemed worth the effort as Trinidad & Tobago elected the first female Prime Minister of Indo-Caribbean descent. Congratulations to the local organizing committee.
...And # 1. Are we really Asian-Indian?
Census 2010 left most Indo-Caribbean residents wondering which box to check for the ethnicity question. Determined to increase the participation rates in Indo-Caribbean neighborhoods, hundreds of volunteers, businesses, religious groups and non-profits found a unifying cause to rally behind. ICA was proud to participate in this civic effort by registering our community, creating local advertisements, going door to door and even setting up tables along Liberty Avenue. Complaints against the Census Bureau came from nearly all quarters: Not enough local hires, repeate mailing of forms, wasting precious tax dollars and an overall neglect of South Queens in general. The results are expected in the spring of 2011.
Please let us know if we forgot something. Share your feedback, add to the list and/or repost.
The list is only meant to spark discussion and reflection. In the interest of full disclosure, we explained our participation in different events while we intentionally excluded ICA's core initiatives to offer an objective perspective.