NYC Hindus get quarterly meeting with Mayor’s Office


25 Aug 2017 – Nisha Ramracha, Raju Bathija, Sitangshu Guha, Vincent Bruno and Lydia Singh met with Nick Gulotta of the Queens Community Affairs Unit at the Mayor’s Office to continue discussions which began last Thursday.  The meeting concluded with the resolutions that not only would the NYC Hindu community be sending in periodic reports on Hindu issues to the Mayor’s Office, but that the Mayor’s Office would also establish a quarterly meeting between relevant City officials and the NYC Hindu Coalition.  It was also agreed the group would meet again before the Mayor’s Diwali party to further discuss the issue of Hindu Holidays.
The talks with the Mayor’s Office began with the “Hindu Holidays Campaign”, a movement brought forth by NYC Hindus for the addition of the Hindu Holidays of Holi and Diwali to NYC school calendars.  The campaign began after the Mayor’s Office gave two Eid holidays to the Muslim community and also added a holiday for Chinese New Year.  NYC Hindus demonstrated outside City Hall in 2015 for the addition of Hindu holidays, their motive was simply to gain the same representation as Muslims, Jews, Christians and now the Chinese. There were also several community advertising campaigns directed at the Mayor’s Office as well as the City Comptroller.
The Mayor’s Queens Community Affair representative Nick Gulotta was very helpful and provided the attendants with many strategies to hasten the inclusion of Hindu holidays in NYC schools. Besides quarterly meetings and periodic reports, Nick suggested the Hindu community take advantage of the City’s new pre-K program which has been used by both Sikhs and Muslims to establish small City funded children’s programs in their Gudwaras and Mosques. The NYC Hindu Coalition can also work with the NYC Department of Education to possibly open Hindu after school programs at public schools. The Coalition also suggested a meeting with CUNY to bring forth community concerns about misinformation on Hinduism as it is presented in City Universities. These can be used as a prelude to the official installment of Hindu holidays.
Besides a general education effort, the Community Affairs Unit also suggested that Hindus begin contacting City and State elected officials who’s districts carry large Hindu populations, as they would be the most likely to lend their support to the campaign. It was also suggested that NYC Hindus works with Hindu businesses and the City administration to create a Hindu Business Association which would be linked to City commerce boards. Finally, Nick Gulotta advised the Hindu community to engage in interfaith forums and gain the support of Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and other religious institutions to join in the call for greater representation of Hindus in City schools and government.  Thank you very much to the Mayor’s Office for beginning a process for Hindu upward mobility in NYC and beyond.
NYC Hindu Coalition, Non-Profit
Formerly “NYC Hindu Holidays Campaign”
A collection of NYC Hindu Non-Profits working with NYC officials and lawmakers for better engagement between the NYC Hindu community and the City administration.