Governor Hochul Delivers Remarks at South Asians of New York Annual Diwali Extravaganza

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Governor Hochul: “Thank you for allowing me the chance to share in the tradition of lighting the candles, to participate here tonight, to meet so many of you who have been my friends a long time on this journey, and your support means the world to me and I’ll never take that for granted.”

Hochul: “This occasion celebrates the eternal hope of human kind that guides all of our communities, and as Diwali inspires a spirit of festivity, New Yorkers extend appreciation to our Indian and South Asian communities for their contributions and commitment to upholding and sharing our wonderfully rich heritage story and time-honored traditions, and we extend the warmest wishes for joy and peace and prosperity in the future.”

Earlier today at the South Asians of New York Annual Diwali Extravaganza in Queens, Governor Kathy Hochul delivered remarks.

VIDEO of the Governor’s remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of today’s remarks is available here.

PHOTOS are available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:

First of all, to my friends, thank you for making me feel so welcome.

I am joined here with someone that you know and love as well and that is our Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. She has been at my side for over a decade, we shared a home together in Washington, D.C. when I was a member of Congress, when I didn’t have a place to stay but she opened up her heart and her home to me so thank you to one of my dearest friends.

I want to just thank Uma SenGupta for all you’ve done for us, and to your family, your mother, and the influence of your late father – you are the reason why we celebrate today, people like you who came to this country humbly, not sure of what the future would bring, but you always had that deep rooted faith in your traditions and to know that Diwali followed you to this country, that you had this light within your heart that you could bring to America and let shine and let all of us gather here in honor of the Goddess Lakshmi. Many of the traditions honor the male gods but this is one that’s dedicated to women so I think this is particularly special as well.

Dr. Sumita Sengupta, I want to thank you as well. Randhir Jaiswal, the Deputy Consul General, is here as well. Dr. Hari Shukla, I want to thank him for making me feel so welcome, the founder of South Asians of New York.  I understand Barry Grodenchik is here, our Councilmember, as well as Jim Gennaro.

Thank you for joining us but this is not about me – it’s about the people of this community. It’s about all of you and how you’ve stepped into such important roles, whether it’s in health care, whether you’re community leaders, whether you run for elective office, whether you’re part of the fabric of a society that is so diverse and so welcoming and you found a home here in New York City, many of you in Queens, and that is why we are the most fascinating, powerful place in the world.

It’s because of gatherings like this where we cherish our traditions, we honor those stories, and we pass them on to our children. That creates a bond with us for generations going forward, and we respect each other’s traditions and culture and we share in that and let all of us know that there is light within us and yes, we do deal with darkness, we deal with frustration, we deal with some difficult days, but when we believe in the light, that there will always be light out there for us, then we can rise up – just as we saw so much darkness during this pandemic. It was so hard for so many of our communities, and yet, we are now finally finding the light that is long overdue and it’s making us feel stronger and more empowered.

I want to thank you for allowing me the chance to share in the tradition of lighting the candles, to participate here tonight, to meet so many of you who have been my friends a long time on this journey, and your support means the world to me and I’ll never take that for granted.

So to all my friends, from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you, and I have a proclamation for you, a large one, but I know many people don’t like to be read a proclamation, so I want to say this occasion celebrates the eternal hope of human kind that guides all of our communities, and as Diwali inspires a spirit of festivity, New Yorkers extend appreciation to our Indian and South Asian communities for their contributions and commitment to upholding and sharing our wonderfully rich heritage story and time-honored traditions, and we extend the warmest wishes for joy and peace and prosperity in the future – and that is why I am proclaiming this day Diwali, the festival of lights, here in the State of New York.

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