FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JULY 25, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3
AOC pushes back against POTUS in Corona town hall meeting
BY MARK HALLUM
An immigration town hall in Corona
by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-
Cortez on Saturday drew not concerned
constituents, but also a small group of
Trump supporters and a member of the
Oath Keepers, a national militia group,
who could be spotted outside the venue.
Th e content of the immigration town
hall, paneled by a slew of immigration
leaders, condemned the language used
by President Donald Trump viewed as an
attempt to demean female members of
Congress either born abroad or from nonwhite
According to Ocasio-Cortez, about half
the cases opened by her offi ce on behalf
of her constituents are immigration-related.
She claims that while refugees and
undocumented migrants are feeling more
roadblocks to asylum, the federal government
is also cracking down on legal immigration.
“To try to lock ourselves, to try to keep
the world out ... only hurts us. Our greatest
ability in my opinion as a country is
our ability to transform. America is a place
where you can actualize your potential.
Where everyone can actualize their potential,
and we have to protect that,” Ocasio-
Cortez said. “We cannot allow this administration
to misinterpret what is actually
going on because they’re trying to close all
the legal, normal, documented ways of getting
into the U.S. ... Th ey are denying areas
to Temporary Protected Status where we
should be having them, like for folks who
are leaving Venezuela for example.”
Th e event was a more localized response
to Twitter attacks from the president telling
“Democratic Congresswomen” to “go
back” to the “crime infested places from
which they came.”
A panel discussion was held with Amaha
Kassa, executive director of African
Communities Together; Jennifer Sun,
co-executive director for Asian Americans
for Equality; Roksana Mun, DRUM’s
director of strategy and training; and
Yatziri Tovar, media specialist with Make
the Road New York.
But Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz also
spoke claiming she had witnessed a white
supremacist outside the town hall at P.S.
16, located at 41-15 104th St., handing
out a fl yer to a child that said, “You don’t
“I left Colombia when I was 9 aft er I
witnessed a murder in front of my house.
Th is was at the height of the drug war ... I
spent 13 years of my life an undocumented
immigrant living in Queens,” Cruz said.
“Th ose experiences brought me to the idea
that those who go through the pain are
closest to the answer.”
Cruz, who later became an attorney, said
her family endured discrimination and
exploitation in their early years in the U.S.
and called on documented immigrants
and naturalized citizens to use their ‘privilege’
to stand up for undocumented.
“I just passed a white supremacist on the
corner giving a child a piece of paper that
said, ‘You don’t belong here’ – yes, the people
protesting across the street,” Cruz said.
“It’s up to us, those of us who suff ered and
work their way out to embrace that privilege
and work alongside us to stand up for
that child, that child’s parents and every
single one of us.”
About 200 people attended the town hall
despite a heat wave that marked the warmest
day in the city since 2011.
Ocasio-Cortez looked back to the strategy
that helped her win the 2018 Democratic
primary against Joe Crowley of convincing
non-habitual voters to turn out as a strategy
for defeating Trump in 2020.
“We do not have acquiesce to the president’s
racism, because he is using racism,
he is stoking white supremacy and he is
allowing frankly neo-Nazi groups to go off
unchecked because that is key part of rousing
his base,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But we
cannot allow or give in to that. I think our
response has to be turning up and turning
out an electorate, because he doesn’t
have to win districts; he has to win states.
So when we turn out Detroit, Baltimore,
Minneapolis ... He’s a fraud and we have to
tell that story.”
Queens lawmakers and faith groups denounce alleged hate crime on Hindu priest in Glen Oaks
BY JENNA BAGCAL
Following a brutal attack of a Hindu
priest in Glen Oaks, lawmakers in Queens
and faith advocacy groups are speaking
out against the alleged hate crime.
On Th ursday, July 18, around 11 a.m.,
62-year-old Swami Harish Chander Puri
told QNS he was taking his morning walk
near the Shiv Shakti Peeth temple when a
man attacked him from behind.
According to Pix11 News, Puri was
wearing his religious garb when 52-yearold
Sergio Gouveia began repeatedly
punching him. Police said that EMS personnel
took Puri to Long Island Jewish
Medical Center to treat the bruises and
abrasions on his face and body.
He has since been released and said he
is doing better. He added that he prays for
Gouveia and hopes that God helps him in
“Slowly everything is doing well,” Puri
Witnesses alleged that Gouveia
screamed, “Th is is my neighborhood,”
as he attacked Puri. Police charged him
assault and harassment in the second
degree but many label the attack as a hate
Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive
Hindus blamed President Trump’s rhetoric
for the attack.
“Bigotry and xenophobia does not distinguish
between Hindus and Muslims, or
black or brown skin. When the U.S. president
targets immigrants and refugees and
encourages chants of ‘send her back’ at
rallies, this results in real harm infl icted
on our communities,” said the organization
in a statement.
Th e organization collected over 80 signatures
from faith leaders, advocates and
the community and called on the NYPD
to investigate the attack as a hate crime.
Senator John Liu, who led the passage
of the Religious Attire bill in the Senate,
said that despite this attack, Queens welcomes
people of all faiths.
“A Hindu priest was viciously attacked
in Glen Oaks this week and the perpetrator
reportedly screamed at the priest, ‘Get
out of my neighborhood’ due to his religious
attire. Let me be clear: In New York,
we embrace people of all religious faiths.
In our neighborhood, our Hindu brothers
and sisters are always welcome,” said Liu.
Th e Religious Attire bill prohibits discrimination
against individuals wearing
religious clothing, adornments or facial
hair. Th e Assembly passed a similar bill
“Th is disturbing incident highlights the
unfortunate reality that people of faith
continue to be discriminated against due
to their religious attire, and my legislation
prohibiting discrimination on this basis
awaits the governor’s signature. In these
times, when hateful rhetoric against religious
minorities is in the national headlines,
we must send the message that New
York welcomes and protects people of all
faiths, creeds and colors.”
Other lawmakers took to Twitter
denouncing the brutal attack:
“I’m disgusted by this violent attack on
a Hindu priest in our borough. Today and
everyday I stand with the Hindu community
and every Queens family. Even in the
face of hate, we will not forget that our
diversity is our strength,” Grace Meng (@
“Swami Ji Harish Chander Puri spent
this weekend recovering from a brutal,
despicable act of hate. Our city is praying
for him. But he says he’s praying for
We can all learn from that sense of
grace and love,” wrote Mayor Bill de
Photo: Mark Hallum/QNS
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