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Getting out the vote in Little Guyana

They came dancing with a mission.
Members of the Caribbean Equality Project and the Asian American Federation, in partnership with the South Queens Women’s March, hosted the inaugural Little Guyana Votes Festival in Richmond Hill last weekend.
Held on 120th Street between Little Punjab Avenue (101st Avenue) and Little Guyana Avenue (Liberty Avenue), the event also featured cultural music performances by Taranng Dance Group, PPE distribution, Hurricane Ida relief resources and COVID vaccines.
The Indo-Caribbean community is the second-largest foreign-born group in Queens, and fifth-largest in the city.
Christina Motilall, a member of South Queens Women’s March since last year, says she connects with the platform’s mission of providing resources to an underserved community.
“My family goes through the issues that South Queens Women’s March is trying to tackle,” said Motilall, whose parents are from Guyana. “I feel like I connect with it culturally, and I want to make a difference too. This is what representation looks like,” said Motilall.
The festival culminated in over 30 new registered voters, 250 free culturally responsive grocery bags distributed and over 40 completed excluded workers fund applications, according to Mohamad Q. Amin, founder and executive director of the Caribbean Equality Project.
“This is our home, this is our country, and immigrants have always been essential,” said Amin. “We must protect immigrant rights, LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights and grant undocumented people and asylum seekers a pathway to citizenship, freedom, and liberation.”
The event was joined by community leaders, including council member Adrienne Adams, who emphasized her priority on the diverse constituents of the district.
“I recognize that all of us have been marginalized and forgotten about, not thought about and not cared about,” she said. “So when I became elected, I knew things had to change.”
The event coincided with National Voter Registration Day, held annually on the fourth Tuesday in September. According to U.S. Census data from 2020, roughly one in four eligible Americans are not registered to vote.
To familiarize locals with the voting process, residents cast ballots for categories like which local eatery has the best doubles, a common street food snack from Trinidad and Tobago, and shared their preference for one of two well-known Richmond Hill grocery stores, Singh Farm and Patel Brothers.

Thousands gather in Bay Ridge to support Palestine

Thousands of community organizers and activists gathered on the streets of Bay Ridge this past Saturday to support Palestine amid rising tensions with Israel.
Saturday’s march started on the corner of 74th Street and Fifth Avenue before proceeding through the portion of the neighborhood commonly known as “Little Palestine.”
The event was organized by the Palestinian community organization Within Our Lifetime and was also meant to commemorate Nabka Day, which Palestinians mark as the beginning of their displacement from the State of Israel in 1948.
The group has organized multiple marches and events since its founding in 2015, but none have matched the size and attention of the Saturday event. Within Our Lifetime estimates that approximately 50,000 people attended.
Protestors repeated the refrain “Free Palestine” throughout the afternoon, and continued marching and chanting well into the evening. In addition to Palestinians, members of the group Jewish Voice for Peace attended the march and expressed their support of the Palestinian people.
“As one ummah we stand united together,” Malik Ismail, a Palestinian Bay Ridge resident, told the Star. “For our brothers and sisters in Palestine we will continue to fight for your freedom till there is no more oppression and genocide anymore.”
Elsewhere in Brooklyn, members of the Jewish Voice for Peace marched to the home of Senator Chuck Schumer and demanded that he work to cut funding to Israel. Outside of the politician’s home the protestors left cards with the names of Palestnians who have been killed by Israeli airstrikes.
The pinnacle of Saturday’s activity came when a crowd blocked one side of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, halting traffic.

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