The South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) honored Nisha Agarwal, New York City Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, as it celebrated its 15th Anniversary with a gala at Utsav Restaurant in Manhattan, New York recently. Agarwal was feted, among others for her efforts to empower the disadvantaged.
Agarwal congratulated SACSS for 15-years of working to ensure South Asians were represented and making access to healthcare possible in immigrant communities. Also honored was H. R. Shah, chairman and CEO TV Asia for what the organizers said was “providing visibility” to the poblems faced by South Asian through the channel’s strong media presence. Present at the event were the consuls general of India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Delivering the keynote address, Raja Rajeswari, the first India-born woman to be appointed a judge in New York in April this year, by Mayor Bill de Blasio, congratulated SACSS on completing 15-years of service to the community. She said South Asians were among the fastest-growing immigrant community and that while they are known for their contributions to the fields of medicine, business and engineering among others, “now it was time for the community to make itself known in the legal and political sphere.”
Speaking about SACSS’ journey, growth and forthcoming challenges, Sudha Acharya, executive director of SACSS, said, “With the fast-growing population, it is imperative that we are ready to respond to their growing needs. We have been advocating on issues crucial to the wellbeing of South Asians such as culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services, healthcare access for all New Yorkers, keeping families safe and together, economic stability for all and increased civic participation”.
After receiving the award, Agarwal congratulated “SACSS for 15-years of “working tirelessly” to ensure South Asians were represented and making access to healthcare possible in immigrant communities.
Echoing her thoughts Shah congratulated SACSS and specifically applauded SACSS’ work with taxi drivers in New York City. “Having first-hand knowledge of the numerous stressors that affect taxi drivers it was great that SACSS was advocating for the needs of taxi drivers,” he said.
Husam Ahmed, chairman and CEO of HAKS Inc. and SACSS gala benefit chair, told the audience about the need to support SACSS so that it can continue to provide critical services.
Founded in 2000, SACSS’ mission is to empower and support underserved South Asians to actively engage in the civic and economic life of New York. Till date SACSS has provided direct services in the fields of healthcare, senior support, parenting skills training, supportive counseling, civic engagement, English and computer classes to over 20,000 community members. All SACSS’ programs and services are free and are provided by culturally competent staff-members who speak Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali and Spanish.