'Bangladeshis make New York City stronger every day'

Ibrahim Chowdhury | Update:

Acting commissioner Bitta Mostofi of New York City Mayor's Office,Bitta Mostofi said that Bangladeshis are making the New York City stronger every day.

In an email interview with Prothom Alo North America, the commissioner said New York City is home to over 80,000 Bangladeshi New Yorkers. As business owners, community leaders and cultural heralds, Bangladeshi residents make the city stronger every day.

Acting commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Bitta Mostofi, on behalf of the Office of Mayor, responded to the questions sent by Prothom Alo. 

She said New York has always been a city of immigrants, and for generations, diverse people from around the globe have come to New York to make a better life for themselves and their families.

“New York is the greatest city in the world because of the diversity of skills and experiences that New Yorkers bring from all corners of the world. The City of New York stands with our Bangladeshi immigrant community at a time when the federal government is targeting and demonising immigrants,” read the emailed response, to a question as to how the mayor, being the leader of one of the largest cities in the world, does value the diversity of New York City.

In response to the question drawing her attention towards the fear of deportation, hate crimes and other situations which the Bangladeshi New Yorkers often pass through, the emailed response referred to a Mayor’s letter.

An excerpt of the letter is following: “Today, more than a third of our residents are immigrants, and it is clear that they are our city’s past, present, and future. Our history has shown time and again that a united city is a strong city, and we will not let outside voices dictate the future of New York or lead us down a path of fear and discrimination.”

The City of New York, often called New York City or simply New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over an area of about 784 square kilometres, New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States.

Bill de Blasio is the 109th mayor of New York City. Prior to his assumption of the mayoralty, he served as New York City's public advocate from 2010 to 2013.

He was elected mayor of New York City in the landslide 2013 election and retained his office in 2017 another landslide election.

Bitta Mostofi also said that in New York City, Bengali is the sixth-most spoken language and the Mayor’s office of Immigrants Affairs (MOIA) has been recruiting Bengali-language volunteers in the Bronx and in Queens.

“Through our volunteer program, New Yorkers help MOIA’s mission of promoting the well-being of immigrant communities, serving as organizers, interpreters, and English-language facilitators. Currently, we have 12 Bengali-speaking volunteers, and we have another Bengali-language volunteer training coming up in June,” read the emailed response.

The emailed response also added that according to data from the American Community Survey, the top 5 occupations for Bangladeshi New Yorkers are: taxi drivers and chauffeurs; cashiers; retail sales persons; waiters and waitresses; and customer service representatives.

The mayor office said Bangladeshi New Yorkers should know that City services are available regardless of immigration status, including free legal support and IDNYC and requested Bangladeshi immigrants to call 311 for more information on services and resources for immigrant New Yorkers.

*The article originally published in Bangla is rewritten in English by Mushfique Wadud

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