It was billed as ABRAZO BANGLADESH in Honor of Bangladesh Independence Day. State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. State senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo were on the front page of the program, but Senator Klein was still up in Albany as one of the now 4 men in the room discussing and finalizing the state budget. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was on hand as was Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, and a brief stop in by Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Carl Heastie who had his daughter with him so he could not stay. The room was filled to capacity as the program began.
The six honorees were from the Bronx Bangladesh community based mainly around the Parkchester area. The honorees were Mr. Mohammed Shamin Miah, Mr. Abdus Shahid, Mr. Mohammed N. Mujumder, Mr. Zakir A. Khan, Ms. Farida Yeasmin, and Mr. Rezaul Salim.
Each of the elected officials on hand said a few words of what the occasion meant to them. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said that "You are part of the 1.4 million people of the Bronx". Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda asked for a moment of silence for the "Freedom Fighters" for the Independence of Bangladesh. Assemblyman Marcos Crespo spoke of the connection between the Bangladesh and the Hispanic community in his district. Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj being the first Albanian elected to the state legislature said he knows what lies ahead for the Bangladesh community of the Bronx.
Several of the Freedom Fighters from the Independence war with Pakistan in 1971 were on hand and brought up for a photo with the honorees at the end of the program. Below are several photos of the event. You can click on a photo to enlarge it.
Left - Team Diaz 2014.
Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo.
Right - Team Diaz with the honorees.
Left - The singing of the Bangladeshi National Anthem, with traditional Harmonium & Tobla Drum.
Right - The invocation by Iman Mohammed Moinul Islam.
Left - Senator Diaz Sr. is starting the program by asking the honorees to come up front.
Right - Bronx BP Diaz Jr. is speaking of the mosaic of the Bronx where everyone is a part of the 1.4 million people of the Bronx.
Left - Ms. Farida Yeasmin receives her awards from Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj.
Right - Mr. Mohammed N. Mujumder receives his awards from Senator Diaz Sr.
A group photo of the elected officials, honorees, and several of the 1971 Bangladesh Freedom Fighters who were on hand pose for this photo.