After years of informally referring to Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill, Queens, New York as ‘Little Guyana’, the street, which is home to scores of Guyanese businesses, has officially been co-named ‘Little Guyana Avenue.’
Guyanese in Queens, NY, braved morning showers to attend an unveiling ceremony on Saturday at the Leo F. Kearns parking lot, delivering speeches that honoured the contributions of Guyanese immigrants in the Richmond Hill area.
A sign has been erected at the intersection of Leffers Boulevard and Liberty Avenue with authorisation from the New York City Council following a vote back in December 2020.
Council Member, Adrienne Adams, received special commendations for voting to approve the co-naming legislation which was subsequently approved by the Mayor, Bill de Blasio.
In brief remarks, Councilwoman Adams said the change in name was a part of making an invisible community, visible. “We will continue to celebrate you and make you sure are never invisible and you will always have a seat at the table,” Adams said.
She believes the co-naming of Liberty Avenue is a most fitting tribute to the Guyanese who have contributed to the growth of the community culturally and economically.
Also attending the event was Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud, who is currently visiting New York to engage the Guyanese diaspora there. In delivering greetings on behalf of President Irfaan Ali and all of Guyana, Persaud said the event was a momentous one that is viewed as an important recognition of Guyanese, three days after Guyana celebrated its 55th Independence anniversary.
“I want you to be proud of this co-naming and live up to what people expect of Guyana. I want to encourage you, when you pass here, to think about what you can do to participate in what’s happening in our country,” Persaud said.
Also delivering remarks at the ceremony was Mayor Bill de Blasio and US Congressman, Gregory Meeks, who is also the Chair of the US Congress Foreign Relations Committee. Both NYC State and City leaders were also present at the event, along with Guyana’s Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Kwame McCoy.
Since the 1960s, large numbers of Guyanese have made New York City their home.
Today, in Queens alone, Guyanese are believed to be among the largest foreign-born immigrant group with their presence most visible along the vibrant Liberty Avenue which has become the primary center of religious activities, business, and entertainment.