History was made on Saturday, May 25, when 169thStreet and Hillside Avenue, became, Ramesh D. Kalicharran “Kali” Way, co-named for late Guyanese-born, philanthropist, community leader, and the first street naming for an Indo-Guyanese Caribbean national.
The City Council of New York signed the legislation into law in December 2018, and the unveiling took place at the corner of the street where “Kali”, fondly called, lived with his daughter, Romanee, and wife, Judith Kalicharran.
NYC Council Member Roray Lancman, District 24, said “we have an obligation to recognize the accomplishments and achievements of community leaders who help make this city great, and certainly Mr. Kalicharran is one of these people.”
Lancman, who joined the Kalicharran family to light a lamp in honor of the late Kali, was one of the founders of the Phagwah festival in Queens.
“This was one example of how he built up the community and our entire city. Kids would walk down the street, and when they see this sign, they would hopefully learn of this great man and they too would be inspired to do something to serve others and become worthy of having a piece of NYC name after them.”
The council member after his remarks, presented the family with a replica of the street sign, he said, to be put in a special place in their home to show how much “we appreciated what Mr. Kalicharran did for New York City.”
Kali, who pioneered and promoted legendary tours to India, since 1983, and expanded to other worldwide destinations, through his Kali Travel and Tours, touched many lives his community.
Consul General of Guyana to New York, Barbara Atherly, called Kali, a true leader of his community and a dear son of Guyana, noting that it gave her a deep sense of pride to attend the unveiling ceremony, and thanked Mrs. Judith Kalicharran and daughter, Romanee for extending an invitation to the consulate.
‘Today’s event is a testament to Kali’s far-reaching influence within his adopted home country in New York city, his native land of Guyana, and the land of his ancestors, India.”
“This is historic, as the first non-uniform civilian of Indian descent and Caribbean heritage, to be credited with this renaming ceremony. It is truly a remarkable feat for Guyanese to boast of.”
“I applaud his expanded legacy, and for this type of recognition to coincide with the 53rd Independence Anniversary of our nation, it is fitting that his life and the legacy he left are reminiscent of the ideals that our forefathers fought for, our freedom and laid the foundation for unity for all of us.
The diplomat said Kali was industrious and intuitive, and focused and encouraged development, noting his activities will forever be etched in our memories.
Kali, who was called a legend, received many accolades for his outstanding contributions, and remembered by many.
Some of the speakers included, Martha Taylor, community board #8, Yash Paul Soi, founder of the (FIA), Dr. Dhanpaul Narine, Joyti Satsangh, Dr. Mohammed Hack, community leader Dr. Rose October, Guyana Cultural Association, President of The Guyana Tri-State Alliance, Patricia Jordan-Langford and others.
African drummer, Akoyaw Rudder, HighLite Vibes Steel Combo, pannists Kevin and Kenneth Lowe, among others, did musical tributes.