Immigration Know Your Rights Forum in Richmond Hill

On Saturday, March 18, Sadhana had an amazingly successful immigration Know Your Rights forum at Richi Rich Palace. We had representatives from many city agencies - NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant AffairsNew York City Department of Consumer AffairsNYC Commission On Human RightsNYPDNew York City Department of Education, as well as a very insightful and knowledgeable immigration attorney from Brooklyn Defender Services. The event culminated with a beautiful musical tribute entitled Maatri Bhajata by Ravi Mishra.

The entire video of the event is posted on the Sadhana Facebook page for those who couldn't attend in person.

Photo Credit: Hemma Kilawan, Sadhana Volunteer

Photo Credit: Hemma Kilawan, Sadhana Volunteer

We could not have done it without our wonderful community partners who joined us in solidarity to share resources about their work with attendees and also contributed delicious food items - Indo-Caribbean AllianceThe Caribbean Equality ProjectJahajee Sisters: Empowering Indo-Caribbean WomenRichmond Hill Economic Development CouncilChhaya Community Development CorporationDRUM - Desis Rising Up & MovingThe Sikh Cultural Society Richmond Hilll New York, and Rajkumari CulturalCenter.

A huge thank you to the extraordinary Nick Gulotta of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit for all you do for our city and for all your teamwork and dedication to planning this event with us. We are ever grateful.

Here are professional photos of the event from Anand Mohanlall.

Know Your Rights Forum at Queens College

On Wednesday, March 1, Sadhana held a Know Your Rights Forum at Queens College in Flushing, NY. We thank Professor Madhulika Khandelwal and Queens College for collaborating on the event, as well as the excellent speakers. There were testimonies by youth leaders Davanie Singhroy of Sadhana, Zeinab Akberzai of Women for Afghan Women; and concrete information about how immigrants can protect themselves and each other in this time of anti-immigrant laws and policies from AJ Yusuf of Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Piyali Basak and Kathrine Russell of Brooklyn Defender Services and Maya Bhardwaj of Faith in NY and Sadhana.

Know Your Rights Event at Shaanti Bhavan Mandir

NYC Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis addresses attendees at Shaanti Bhavan Mandir at our Know Your Rights forum on November 30, 2016.

NYC Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis addresses attendees at Shaanti Bhavan Mandir at our Know Your Rights forum on November 30, 2016.

Sadhana felt it was important to gather our Hindu community to discuss the state of affairs after the election, particularly the rise of hate crimes towards immigrants and people of color, as well as the then-looming possibility of discriminatory laws and policies. In an effort to keep individuals informed about their rights and responsibilities, we organized our first Know Your Rights forum at the Shaanti Bhavan Mandir on November 30th, 2016.

The election result unleashed a climate of expressed discrimination and hatred in the community - sometimes toward our own Hindus, and sometimes toward our brothers and sisters from other communities. When we chant "vasudaiva kutumbakam" - this means, the world is one family. This is why, whether Hindu, Muslim or Jew; boy or girl; man or woman; black, white or brown person; straight, gay or transsexual person; we all feel the pain and we all stand together with the ekatva our Hindu faith teaches.

To this end, Sadhana is organizing several other Know Your Rights forums in the local New York City area to discuss immigration rights and create a safe space for dialogue in our communities.