Queens elected officials, community leaders and residents in Ozone Park gathered for a street co-naming ceremony on Friday, March 10, recognizing the corner of Drew Street and 101st Avenue as “Little Bangladesh Way,” in honor of the vibrant Bangladeshi community in the borough.
Councilwoman Joann Ariola authored the City Council bill to co-name the street, and the bill was passed in February. The unveiling of “Little Bangladesh Way” is an historic moment and a dream come true for the community, as they prepare to observe the holy month of Ramadan and the commemoration of Bangladesh Independence Day on March 26.
Upon her election to office to represent Council District 32, Ariola said that one of her promises was to make sure the Bangladeshi community knew how much they were appreciated and valued by her as their representative.
“I believe in promises made and promises kept because at the end of your time all you have left is your word. It is my honor and privilege to have been the person to have been able to put this bill forward and request for this street-conaming, but it really comes on the backs of the hard work of the people of this community,” Ariola said. “I want you to have the accolades because it’s your hard work and dedication, and your sense of becoming part of America that made it possible.”
Ariola was joined by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. and Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, who gave remarks honoring the achievements of the Bangladeshi community.
“Today is really significant because we get to see the Bangladeshi community celebrated on a street sign forever. No matter what happens, there could be a storm that comes through, by law that sign remains there forever,” Richards said. “Our diversity is certainly our strength and the Bangladeshi community plays a major role in that strength, whether it’s through our economy, the sciences, engineering, you’ve done so much to move our borough forward.”
Rajkumar said the community must be recognized in all halls of government.
“This is just the beginning for us. I want you to stand here today on Little Bangladesh Way and think of how much further we can go,” Rajkumar said. “What do you dream of? A Bangladeshi mayor? A Bangladeshi governor? Do you believe a Bangladeshi could be president one day? Anything is possible.”
In a Facebook post, the Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol (COPCP) said the street co-naming will serve as a source of inspiration and pride for generations to come.
“History was made today with the street co-naming designating Drew Street and 101 Avenue as ‘Little Bangladesh Way’! COPCP wrote on Facebook. “Thank you, Council member Joann Ariola, for making this possible and everyone who advocated allowing for the Bengali community to be officially seen, heard and recognized.”
Community activist Japneet Singh said the street sign is an amazing accomplishment for the Bengali community in Ozone Park.
“For some it may just be a street sign, but for sons, daughters and descendants of immigrants, this is so much more than that,” Singh said in a Facebook post. “This is about finally being seen. This is about finally being heard. This is about finally being recognized. Little Bangladesh Way will forever be cemented into the history books. This would not have been possible without all the amazing community leaders and organizations that lobbied for this moment long and hard!”