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Jahajee Sisters organizing southeast Queens vigil honoring COVID victims

The Jahajee Sisters of southeast Queens are hosting a vigil honoring victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy of Jahajee Sisters)

Southeast Queens residents will gather for a community vigil Sunday commemorating the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jahajee Sisters, an Indo-Caribbean gender justice organization, is hosting the event that will pay respects to the victims and families and amplify the need for resources needed to help residents and business owners stay safe and recover economically.

“We have spent the last year stepping up where the government would not. While mourning death after death in isolation, we helped women who lost their jobs pay rent and made sure thousands of families had groceries,” Jahajee Sisters Co-Director Simone Jhingoor said. “Immigrant women who are essential workers, nannies and restaurant workers who help keep our city running, have been failed by the system and abandoned by those in power. We are demanding relief funds for them in our state’s budget. We are also demanding proper vaccine access in our community, after a year of neglect, so the unnecessary loss of life comes to an end.”

The vigil takes place Sunday, March 21, from 6 to 8 p.m., at 132-17 Liberty Ave. and participants are asked to bring photos of loved ones lost during the pandemic. Southeast Queens suffered a disproportionately high death rate during the pandemic and Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park have experienced some of the highest positivity rates of COVID in New York City.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities. We are the city’s essential workers and on the front lines every day,” Chhaya CDC Executive Director Annetta Seecharran said. “We know that access to healthcare is a challenge and the risk of contracting this disease is high. Sadly, many of our community members have lost their lives as a result. At this moment, it’s important that we come together to heal and to strengthen one another. Chhaya thanks Jahajee Sisters for inviting us to share this space with our community and reflect on the past while strengthening ourselves for the path forward.”

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