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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2016
Kenrick Ross, Executive Director
On June 1, 2016, 59-year old Guyanese-American Mohamid Rasheed Khan was viciously attacked in Queens Village shortly after leaving his mosque. Indo-Caribbean Alliance, Inc. condemns this bias attack and calls on the New York City Police Department to investigate it as a possible hate crime. While Mr. Khan recovers from his serious injuries, we stand in solidarity with him, his family, and fellow community organizations in demanding justice and raising awareness of this and other acts of violence
against Guyanese-Americans in recent months.
On April 27th, a Guyanese-American teenager was brutally beaten in Astoria, Queens by three young men who shouted ‘ISIS’ as they punched him and threatened him with a metal pipe and bat. Over last Thanksgiving, the home of a Guyanese-American family in Woodhaven was desecrated when an assailant torched 50 jhandi flags in their front yard.
“Any kind of bias attack, no matter the specific target, is unacceptable. The perpetuators must be held accountable. Those who foment a climate of intolerance must also be held accountable,” said ICA Executive Director Kenrick Ross. “We as a community must also be vigilant and visible in demanding justice and not only in one particular case or for one particular group but justice for all. None of us are truly safe and secure in our communities until all of us are.”
ICA will continue to work with our partners in the community, our Indo-Caribbean Roundtable of community stakeholders, and our elected officials to ensure justice for Mr. Khan.
About Indo-Caribbean Alliance, Inc.
Indo-Caribbean Alliance (ICA) is United States registered non-profit organization based in Queens, New York. It was founded in 2008 by three residents who wanted to organize their community to create the programs and services in the underserved Indo-Caribbean and South Asian enclaves in New York City. Our mission is to unify and advance Indo-Caribbean and South Asian interests by fostering joint and collaborative actions among different peoples, organizations and businesses. With a booming population,
especially in New York City, we act as a liaison and an advocate to government agencies, elected officials and other non-profit organizations to create specialized educational, arts and social service programs. ICA runs the only secular community center for the Indo-Caribbean community and provides a wider range of direct programs, services and advocacy.
By Roshan Shiwcharran, Guyanachunes.Com
Heart pounding, butterflies out of control, Terry Gajraj paced back and forth nervously backstage at the Brightstar Productions “Indo-Caribbean Show” in Toronto, Canada. He was about to share the stage for the very first time with many of his idols to sing in front of 8,000 hungry fans. This moment forever changed his life.
“When I stepped on that stage, I felt like I was struck by lightning,” recalls the artist who was representing Guyana at the All Star Concert. “I had that aha moment of OMG! This is what I want to do for the rest of my life!” Gajraj never stopped.
He has dominated the Guyanese music scene for the past 25 years. He released his debut album “Soca Lambada” in 1990 but it was “Guyana Baboo” in 1994 that established him as a household name and propelled him to International acclaim. As a son of the soil, Terry is the most toured artiste to emerge out of Guyana and whose success in promoting Guyanese music and culture around the world remains unmatched.
Here are some brief highlights of an eventful career:
1- Guyana’s most recorded artiste with more than 30 albums and hundreds of songs.
2- TerryG is the only singer from Guyana who has been performing globally every single week, every single month, every single year for over 20 years, non-stop (since his monster hit “Guyana Baboo” in 1994). Guyana’s most consistent artiste.
3- Performed off Broadway in “West Indian Dreams” in Manhattan, NY.
4- Guyana’s most toured singer (performs in all the major cities and countries including the Caribbean, Suriname, Holland, India, UK & Spain). One of his most prestigious shows was at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Gajraj consistently adds a new country & new city every year to his touring circuit.
5- He is the first singer from the Caribbean to perform at the BOLLYWOOD Music Awards, the Indian equivalent of the Grammys.
6- TerryG has represented Guyana in all the major carnivals in the world including Labor Day (NY), Caribana (Canada), Miami Carnival, Virgin Islands (Tortola), Notting Hill (London) and Trinidad (Spektakula Tent).
7- He created the “Screw the lightbulb” Indian Dance and introduced the “Call and Response” style to Guyanese Chutney music thereby making it more interactive, exciting and popular. He has thrilled the worldwide audience with his brand of Guyanese music & culture and spread the sounds of Guyana beyond our borders.
8-TerryG is the first Guyanese artiste to have his own professional website www.TerryGajraj.com. When promoters want a Guyanese entertainer, the firstst name that pops up is Terry “Guyana Baboo” Gajraj.
9- Unlike many artistes who crossover and hide their Guyanese roots, Gajraj proudly waves his Guyanese flag at all his performances and showcases his trademark one finger pose representing 1 People, 1 Nation, 1 Destiny.
10- Gajraj does a weekly TV show on Time Warner ch 96 in NYC every Saturday at 7 pm.
11- Collaborates with young Guyanese artistes to give them a taste of stardom and promote the future of Guyanese music.
12- Since the inception of his singing career. TerryG has consistently donated at least one free performance every month for various charitable groups.
He has further embraced his role model status as a celebrity spokesman for the Save Abee Charitable Foundation for Kids in Guyana. For the past five years, Terry and the Save Abee Team has organized many fundraisers in Canada & USA with proceeds being used to educate kids in computer technology. It has evolved with success, to not only represent his ideals to give back to those in need, but most importantly to showcase the goodwill and strong community spirit of the Guyanese people that Gajraj represents as their musical ambassador.
Gajraj grew up in Fyrish Village, Guyana. As a poor country boy, he had no TV in his home, so his only entertainment was learning to play every single musical instrument he could get his hands on.
Having no TV was a blessing in disguise. Dance-inspiring Soca Chutney rhythms and a knack for Guyanese lyrics have made the charismatic Gajraj one of Guyana’s most successful vocalists.
That poor country boy is now an international star who has made an indelible mark on the musical history of Guyana.
“Yuh Can Tek Me Outta Guyana, But You Kyan Tek Guyana Outta Me” TerryG.
Some of Terry’s upcoming performances: Orlando, FL - Chutney Soca Brass (March)
Suriname, Paramaribo (March)
Guyana National Stadium - Phagwah
Bronx, NY (March)
Richmond Hill, NY - Phagwah Parade (March)
Somerset, NJ - Phagwah Dance (March)
Queens, NY (April )
Boston, MA (April)
Montreal, Canada (April)
Trinidad, WI - Mother’s Day (May)
St. Maarten, WI - Chutney Soca Fest (May)
Jamaica, NY (May)
Cayman Islands, WI - GACI Dinner & Dance (June)
Hartford, CT (June)
New 2016 songs:“Buss Peppa” ft Shakti
“Tek Way Yuh Gyal” ft Rikki Jai
“Weakness For Sweetness” ft Ta.V.Ta
“Larkhi” ft A9
Releasing soon:“Guyana 50th Tribute” Angels Band
“Pati Patna” Guyanese Traditional
“Girl You Turn Me On” ft Keri
“Tequilla” ft Prince Bengal & many more for the summer
“PACK UP ME GRIP & LEH ME GO”
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.
On Thanksgiving an Indo-Caribbean family in Woodhaven, Queens was the victim of a hate crime when more than 40 “jhandi” flags in their yard were set on fire. The jhandi flag is a highly visible, quintessential marker of Indo-Caribbean culture that transcends religion, ethnicity, and race. Made of bamboo and colorful pieces of cloth that symbolize Hindu deities, jhandi flags are placed next to a home’s private temple or in its yard after a Hindu religious ceremony, or pooja. They are commonplace in the Caribbean, notably in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and Jamaica, and the Caribbean Diaspora, but rare in South Asia.
The Indo-Caribbean Alliance, Inc. (ICA) is deeply concerned about this attack on the security, safety, and freedom of expression of our community. We are proud to partner with Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus and other community organizations and stakeholders in organizing a rally on Friday, December 4, 2015 to show solidarity with the family and ensure accountability for this crime.
The #WEAREONE rally will be held on Friday, December 4, 2015 at 7PM at the intersection of 89th Avenue and 80th Street in Woodhaven.
ICA calls for a thorough and speedy investigation of this crime and encourages anyone with additional information to come forward. “When one person or family is targeted in our community and they are made to feel unsafe, no one in our community is safe”, said ICA Executive Director Kenrick Ross. “As we promote multicultural dialogue and foster tolerance and understanding, let us also be clear that the onus is not on minorities, immigrants, and communities of color to justify why they should be treated with basic fairness, dignity, and respect. It is rather on all of us, particularly public figures, to ensure that we create environments which are inclusive, tolerant, and supportive.”
We are proud to have our elected officials share our concerns and stand with our community.
“Crimes which target religious expression are hate crimes, and should be treated as such,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich. “Whoever is responsible for the burning of these flags must be held accountable. We simply cannot tolerate any form of religious persecution.”
Assemblyman Mike Miller stated, “In our community, we pride ourselves in our diversity and welcome individuals of all faiths and backgrounds. Our compassion for one another is what ultimately unites us together during times of tragedy and it is also what makes our community so unique. When I received news that someone had burned more than three dozen religious flags on Thanksgiving morning, I was in disbelief to hear that it happened so close to home. I want to condemn the actions of this individual and ask everyone of all faiths in our community come together in solidarity against any form of flag burning such as what happened here in Woodhaven. As we move forward, we will not let incidents such as this one change our acceptance and tolerance for all faiths and backgrounds in our community nor should we live in fear of ignorant acts such as the one this criminal committed. I urge anyone with any information to please reach out to the NYPD. Thank you.”
The arrival of summer also marks the opening of New York's vibrant cricket season. In this article, The New York Times profiles "Singh's Sporting Goods" a small cricket shop that serves locals, foreign tourists and some of the world's leading cricket players.
Full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/nyregion/singhs-sporting-goods-specializes-in-cricket-gear.html
The New York Times profiles the accomplished ballet dancer Amar Ramasar who is of Indo-Trinidadian and Puerto Rican ancestry, "Mr. Ramasar commuted every day from his school in the Bronx to ballet classes in Manhattan, taking his place at the barre among boys as young as 6. “I had a lot of catch-up to do, because I started so late,” he said. “I would look around and see all these boys who were turned-out and beautiful, and I was just a clumsy Bronx boy. It took a lot of willpower.”
To read the full article: