The NYC City Council is holding a hearing this Tuesday about a piece of legislation that would make Diwali part of the city’s official “parking calendar.”
If successful, the bill would mean that Diwali would join the long roster of holidays (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) on which New Yorkers would be allowed to suspend the so-called “alernate side of the street” parking rules (if you haven’t lived in NYC, it’s tough to explain, but basically, if you park
on the street, on alternate days, the car has to be moved in order to permit cleaning trucks to clean the side; on certain holidays you don’t – and
therefore can leave it parked in place for another day).
This is a big deal both in practical terms (many non-Hindus will hear about Diwali and appreciate not having to move their cars one extra day) and in a
symbolic way. Having Diwali officially recognized means it now gets a seat at the table. Perhaps that will lead to other recognition in ways big and small across the United States for the desi community.
You can make a difference, whether you are in NYC or elsewhere – whether you are a journalist or not, whether you are a Hindu or not.
What people can do to help:
1) Show support: Testimonies should highlight the importance of Diwali in the Hindu and/or South Asian community and its impacts on the NYC community. Overall, testimonies should help convey the community’s support of this legislation and be no more than 3-4 minutes (2-3 double spaced pages). 20 copies of the testimony need to be brought to the hearing.
Members of the community can show up without needing to testify. It’s a public hearing, so a strong audience presence will be very important. Just their
prescence will send a good signal about community interest.
2) If people can’t testify, they can send letters of support to City Council Member John Liu, Chair, Committee on Transportation by fax to 212.788.8964 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Provide media attention: It would be great to have journalists cover the hearing. A large interest by the media will make the legislators aware of the community’s interest in the legislation.
More info can be had here
Date: Tuesday (September 20)
Time: 10.00 am
Venue: Council Chambers; 2nd floor of City Hall; NYC
To get to city hall, take the A,C,E to Chambers Street or the 4,5,6,R,W to City Hall.