Gurdev Singh Kang and Faiza Patel have been appointed to New York City’s Commission on Human Rights, a place where New Yorkers who have faced discrimination can find justice.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that Indian-Americans’ appointment to the Commission will enforce fundamental civil rights and improve community relations in all five boroughs of New York.
“Spanning LGBTQ rights, national security issues, and leadership in Sikh communities, today’s appointees represent the very best of New York City. This progressive and extraordinarily qualified group share a strong dedication to safeguarding the rights, safety, and dignity of all people in New York City,” said de Blasio in a statement.
Carmelyn P Malalis, the Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, also welcomed the two and called them true pioneers when it comes to the fight for equality and dignity.
“As fierce and zealous advocates, their knowledge, skills, and a strong commitment to human rights will serve to strengthen and energise the mission of our agency to eliminate discrimination in this City and ensure equity and equality for all New Yorkers,” he said.
Kang said, “It is a great honour to serve as a Commissioner and it is very important that the voices of minorities be heard during this crucial time, therefore, I hope to help prevent discrimination against New Yorkers based on their race and religious beliefs.”
Patel too was honoured to join the Commission “particularly at this moment when our civil rights and liberties and our diverse communities are under threat” and said that she “looks forward to playing a part in ensuring that our City’s human rights law remains a vital and robust protection for all New Yorkers”.
Kang is the former president of The Sikh Cultural Society Inc., the largest Sikh temple in New York City, where he served as president for four years and started the Nagar Kirtan program and sports initiatives for youth. He has been affiliated with the Sikh Cultural Society for over 25 years.
Patel serves as the Co-Director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program, which seeks to ensure that our counterterrorism laws and policies respect human rights norms and fundamental freedoms. She focuses on issues relating to surveillance, including police monitoring of Muslim communities, interception of electronic communications by security agencies and Islamophobia.