Himanshu Suri, better known as Heems of Das Racist, has long been an advocate for Queens’s Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park neighborhoods, which lie in an area heavily populated by South Asian and Indo-Caribbean immigrants. Heems, who’s of Indian descent, is originally from Richmond Hill. He sits on the board of SEVA NY, a non-profit devoted to “community organizing in immigrant enclaves in Queens.”
Tonight, the City Council’s redistricting commission is holding a meeting to hear public opinion on districting in Queens. Heems, speaking as a representative of SEVA, has published an open letter to speaker Christine Quinn in an effort to ensure that the immigrant communities in Richmond Hill and South Ozone park are given a sufficient political voice.
“Presently, this community is gerrymandered into four Council districts,” reads Heems’s letter in part. “This is completely unacceptable, and must change.” The letter goes on to cite “the demise of Richmond Hill high school, the decay in transportation infrastructure, the absence of local programs for our senior citizens, and the lack of capital investment by the city and state” as symptoms of the current districting. The full text can be read here.
Heems’s excellent Nehru Jackets mixtape was released through SEVA NY earlier this year, and is available for free download on the organization’s website.
(Photo: Shawn Anderson/Flickr)