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Queens leaders celebrate street co-naming of Little Bangladesh Avenue in Jamaica

Queens
Councilman James Gennaro (c.) celebrates the co-naming of Little Bangladesh Avenue in Jamaica with community leaders and residents on Monday, Feb. 21. (Photo courtesy of Councilman Gennaro’s office)

Queens elected officials, community leaders and hundreds of residents in Jamaica were gathered for a street co-naming ceremony on Monday, Feb. 21, recognizing the intersection of Homelawn Street and Hillside Avenue as Little Bangladesh Avenue, paying homage to the many contributions of the Bangladeshi community in the borough.

The event coincided with International Mother Language Day, a holiday dedicated to linguistic and cultural diversity. The holiday is widely known as the anniversary of the day when the people of Bangladesh fought for recognition of the Bangla language. It is now celebrated worldwide.

Councilman James Gennaro authored the City Council bill to co-name the street, and the bill was passed in December 2021.

Gennaro opened the proceedings with a moment of silence in memory of the freedom fighters who gave their lives in Bangladesh’s 1971 war for independence.

“I am thrilled to be here for this wonderful and timely co-naming ceremony. As many as 65% of New York City’s Bangladeshi population reside in Queens — and many of them here in Jamaica. Today, we are celebrating the many contributions of the Bangladeshi community to the borough of Queens,” Gennaro said.

The intersection of Homelawn Street and Hillside Avenue is now known as Little Bangladesh Avenue, paying homage to the many contributions of the Bangladeshi community in Queens. (Photo courtesy of Councilman Gennaro’s office)

Gennaro was joined by Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, Assembly members David Weprin and Jenifer Rajkumar, Councilwoman Nantasha Williams, Community Board 8 Chair Martha Taylor, Bangladesh Consulate General Monirul Islam, South Asian American Voice Chair Rhonda Binda and others. 

As the first South Asian woman elected to New York state office, Rajkumar was proud to join her Bangladeshi family in celebrating the Little Bangladesh Avenue co-naming ceremony. 

“The unveiling ceremony celebrated the many contributions of New York City’s Bangladeshi community, one of the fastest growing in our city. By literally putting Little Bangladesh on the map, we are showing that the community finally has the seat at the table it so rightfully earned,” Rajkumar said. 

Katz recognized the freedom fighters and the Bangladeshi community for their contributions to the city and borough. 

“I am grateful to be representing this borough. I am especially grateful to the Bangla community, who has accepted me with open hearts. ‘Little Bangladesh’ will be here forever, for the next generations to see,” Katz said. 

Weprin, who also represents the community, thanked Gennaro for spearheading the street co-naming recognizing the Bangladeshi community. 

“Now, any time a child will come by and see the sign ‘Little Bangladesh,’ they’ll realize that this is one of the largest Bangladeshi-American communities in the United State of America. And we are very proud of that culture,” Weprin said. 

Williams noted the Bangladeshi community’s thriving businesses while honoring their families and showcasing their culture and language to other communities.

Taylor called it a “historic day” for the Bangladeshi community and congratulated Gennaro and everyone who came out to celebrate the co-naming ceremony.

“The Bangladeshi-American community has made so many contributions to this borough, and it is wonderful there is now a sign on the corner of Homelawn and Hillside Avenue to commemorate all their accomplishments on International Mother Language Day,” Taylor said.

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