South Queens Women’s March to host first Fall Harvest festival to promote civic engagement

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(South Queens Women’s March)

South Queens Women’s March, in partnership with the NYC Racial Justice Commission and the Asian American Federation, will host its first-ever Fall Harvest Festival in South Richmond Hill on Saturday, Oct. 29. 

The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Leo Kerns parking lot, located at 103-33 Lefferts Blvd.  

As early voting for the November general election begins on Saturday, South Queens Women’s March (SQWM) will be seeking to get community members pledged to vote.  

The organization will be shedding light on some of the key issues that will be found on the back of voters’ ballots this election. The group will be mobilizing community members to pledge to vote and remember the critical need to flip over their ballots. The back of the ballot will feature four proposals, including three based on efforts by the New York City Racial Justice Commission.

“This past year, we saw many of our rights being rolled back, including the dystopian overturning of Roe v. Wade. Voting has never been more critical for our underserved community, at every level of government – from local to national,” said Aminta Kilawan-Narine, founder of SQWM. “South Queens Women’s March has been advocating to achieve true gender justice since our inception.”

According to Kilawan-Narine, SQWM is hosting the fall festival in furtherance of their mission, which is to meet the community where they are and to provide them with the tools and resources necessary to survive and thrive. 

“We’re thrilled to have so many community-based co-sponsors and culturally responsive performances as we celebrate this harvest season with a resource-rich festival and encourage community members to vote and flip over their ballots, especially to consider proposals related to racial justice in our City,” Kilawan-Narine said. 

The fun-filled afternoon will feature free groceries, fresh produce, PPE (K95 and surgical face masks and sanitizers), at home COVID test kits, free new and gently used children’s clothing, free books written by BIPOC authors, gender-based/domestic violence resources, voter engagement activities, free flu shots, SNAP enrollment and more. There will also be a live DJ (DJ Keshan) and performances/presentations by folk singer Gavin Mendonca, fusion dancers Anjali Seegobin, Sabrina Mohammed and Sacha Sulaiman, Reading for Black Lives founder Fayola Fair and kathak dancers Ambika Persaud and Durga Rathi. 

The event will be co-chaired by SQWM’s members Movina Seepersaud and Theresa Deepan. 

“During times like these when we are going through inflation and worrying if we have enough money to buy groceries, to pay our rent, to just make it through the end of the month we often forget other essentials like voting,” said Christina Motilall, member of South Queens Women’s March’s civic engagement team. “Exercising our rights as citizens and making sure we have a say in who makes decisions that affect our lives is very important. We may not be able to control everything that happens to us and we may feel defeated due to our circumstances but one way to change that is to make the change and vote!”

Anjali Seegobin, SQWM civic engagement coordinator, said flipping over the ballot in the upcoming election allows citizens to uplift issues and support recommendations needed at the state and city level. 

“One of these proposals outlines the need to act against climate change with an Environmental Bond Act. The anxiety and fear around climate change is an alarming concern for New Yorkers, especially felt deeply in communities of color,” Seegobin said. “This new proposal aims to implement funds towards renewable projects, improving stormwater systems and zero emission school buses.” 

Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, said this weekend’s Fall Harvest isn’t just a GOTV drive – it’s a cultural event that brings whole communities together with art, music, and dance that connects people with critical resources like groceries, COVID tests, children’s clothing, books, flu shots, and so much more. 

“Trusted CBOs like South Queens Women’s March are activating not just Asian American voters but entire communities ahead of these critical midterm elections that will decide who will represent us and the values that are important to us as a City,” Yoo said. 

Co-sponsors of the Fall Harvest include: All-in-One Party Rentals; Ambika Henna Creations; Blaque Resource Network; Chhaya CDC; Caribbean Equality Project; Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM); Diverse Street Initiative; Earnest Foods; Emblem Health; Grand Care Pharmacy; Guyanese Girls Rock; NYC Commission on Human Rights; Hibiscus Henna; Juice 101; Little Guyana Pharmacy and Cafe; MumsKitchens; POOJA Boys; Reading for Black Lives; Resilient Bridges; Safe Horizon; Sikh Family Center; The Campaign Against Hunger; Singh’s Roti Shop & Bar; and Tropical Isle Roti Shop and Bakery.

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