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The Sikh Cultural Society Inc. is located on 118th Street in South Richmond Hill.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced the appointment of Gurdev Singh Kang, the former president of the largest Sikh temple in the five boroughs, to the City Commission on Human Rights.
Kang led The Sikh Cultural Society Inc., located on 118th Street in South Richmond Hill, from 2012 to 2016.
“It is a great honor to serve as a Commissioner. It is very important that the voices of minorities be heard during this crucial time,” Kang said. “Therefore, I hope to help prevent discrimination against New Yorkers based on their race and religious beliefs. Every New Yorker has the right to practice his/her own religion without having to face any fear or threat of a violent attack.”
As president of the Sikh Society, Kang started the Nagar Kirtan program and sports initiatives for youth. Kang is a member of the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council and a clergy member of 1 Police Plaza. He emigrated from Punjab, India, in 1981 and started a deli/grocery business. By 1986, Kang encountered great success in his business endeavors ranging from real estate to retail. Kang has been a member of Community Board 2 in Staten Island since 2006.
The City Commission on Human Rights enforces and educates on the City Human Rights Law, one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the nation. Human Rights Commissioners are appointed by the mayor and advise and assist the chair and commissioner in identifying issues of bias, discrimination, and harassment impacting their communities. Commissioners also encourage positive community relations, meet quarterly with the chair and commission staff, vote on proposed and final rules, and provide recommendations to the commission.
De Blasio also appointed Carrie Davis and Faiza Patel to the CCHR last Thursday.
“Spanning LGBTQ rights, national security issues, and leadership in Sikh communities, today’s appointees represent the very best of New York City. This progressive and extraordinarily qualified group share strong dedication to safeguarding the rights, safety, and dignity of all people in New York City,” the mayor said. “Reiterating what I said when I appointed Carmelyn P. Malalis at the helm of CCHR, I am confident this agency will continue to be a robust enforcer of our fundamental civil rights and improve community relations among New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs.”
Malalis called the new appointees “true pioneers in the fight for equality and dignity. As fierce and zealous advocates, their knowledge, skills, and strong commitment to human rights will serve to strengthen and energize the mission of our agency to eliminate discrimination in this City and ensure equity and equality for all New Yorkers.”