When Bill de Blasio, the honorable mayor of New York City appointed Ms. Raja Rajeswari as the Criminal Court Judge, she became the first South Asian Woman Judge in New York City. She was not born and brought up in a rich family. Her life story is very inspiring and we can see a true warrior in her personality. The Indian American Organization ‘Kerala Samajam of Staten Island (KSSI) had the privilege to witness some of the challenges and sufferings faced by her during the hard times in the past. To them she is a daughter, a close friend, a supporter and a hope.
When she was elevated into this position they determined to honor her with a high-level reception and gathering. When Mr. Varughese Mathew ( Mohan ), the President of Kerala Samajam of Staten Island approached her with this idea, she was so happy and at the same time she asked him to avoid it if they can or if they really want to do it, make it a small gathering in a small or private place. I believe, as a judge she has some restrictions on attending social gatherings like this.
But finally she agreed to accept this invitation and it turned into a great success. Leaders from different Indian American Associations and very close friends and supporters of KSSI and Raja Rajeswari attended this event and some of them narrated their personal experiences with Raja Rajeswari and her family. Some of them knew her for more than 25 years opinioned as she is a true inspiration and the next generation should learn from her, how to face the hardships in life and how to make the hardships into stepping-stones for success.
Raja Rajeswari migrated to USA when she was just 16 years old. Her father could not accompany her and her mother. So her Mother, late. Padma have to become the father and mother of Raja Rajeswari and she did it with so much hardworking and sacrifices. It is hard to be a single mother of a teenager who was born in India and have to have a re-start in USA.
Padma was a well-trained dancer and she started a Dance School in Staten Island. Then the real miracle happened. Kerala Samajam of Staten Island came to help this little family and many of their children joined this Dance School to learn Indian Dance.
Kerala Samajam of Staten Island promoted this school and it was a big help to Raja Rajeswari and her mother. Raja Rajeswari first became a student in her mother’s dance school, became an assistant teacher and later became a full-fledged dance teacher. She performed in many stages in USA and abroad. She performed in hundreds of fund raising events for churches, temples and other social gatherings and charitable organizations.
Even at this busy life schedule she didn’t forget to follow her dream and passion. She found time to go to schools for further education. She joined the law school and graduated successfully. Sometime during these hard times in life her parents left her for eternal glory. Then she had to fight alone with the challenges. The Kerala Samajam of Staten Island supported her all those days. She is so grateful to all of them and she used this special occasion to express her love and gratitude to all those who were there to help her and promote her during the hard times in her life.
She attended this event with her husband Michael and her daughter Padma. KSSI President Mr. Varughese Mathew presented her a plaque on behalf of Kerala Samajam of Staten Island. Varughese Mathew knows her for more than 25 years and he is one of the witnesses of her struggles and her fights against it and her victorious life journey. He explained it in his presidential remarks.
The short and sweet speech of Raja Rajeswari was very emotional and inspiring. She thanked all the Kerala Samajam of Staten Island members for what they did for her and her family in the past. She said she won’t forget all those things and will try to become a strong voice for the people struggling for justice.
She said, “I am glad this is a land of opportunity and with the help of you all, I could attain my dream come true. It is possible in this country. We should encourage our children to fight with the challenges in their lives. We should support them and help them in their struggles and make them brave and strong. I know the challenges and struggles of the immigrant communities very well. But instead of crying and complaining we should learn how to fight with the hardships and find ways to solve them. Our children should come into legal professions and it will make them powerful. I encourage them to take this brave profession for a living. I specially encourage our young girls to come to this field. Unfortunately this is still a male dominated field. We need more females in this field. That will empower them and woman empowerment will make this world a peaceful place to live in”.
Secretary Saji Jacob welcomed Raja Rajeswari and all the participants to this gathering. Leenus Varghese was the Emcee. Dia Thomas sung the American National Anthem. Varughese Mathew delivered the Presidential Address. Rev. Dr. Mathew C Chacko (First President of KSSI), Jacob Chacko (Former President of KSSI), Binoy Thomas (Former President of KSSI, FOMAA New York Regional Treasurer), Sunny Konniyoor (Vice President, Malayali Association of Staten Island), Paul Karukappally (FOKANA Leader), Shaji Varghese (President, Malayali Association of New Jersey), Thomas Koovalloor (Chairman, Justice For All), Madhavan Nair (Fokana/ Namam), S.S. Prakash (Malayali Association of Staten Island), Dr. Ramachandran Nair a well wisher of KSSI , Leela Maret (Fokana Leader), Annie Libu (PRO, Justice For All),Thomas ThomasMalayali Association of S.I , Leela Mathews the member of Kerala Samajam Of Staten Island, were addressed the audience.
Roshen Mammen and Saji Jacob sang melodious songs. Ponnachen Chacko, O.V Mathai and all other officials of Kerala Samajam of Staten Island made this event very remarkable and lively. Varghese Varghese delivered the vote of thanks. The program ended with the Indian national anthem and flowed a delicious dinner the venue.
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