Lander expands office hours for Bangladeshi community
Councilmember Also Names New Community Liaison
In a sign of the increasing importance of the Bangladeshi community to the political and cultural fabric of Brooklyn, Councilmember Brad Lander has expanded the services in his Kensington district office to assist immigrants from that part of the world.
Lander also announced that he has named Ruby Abdul, who speaks Bengali, to serve as a community liaison.
The announcement took place at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Kensington office on Oct. 21 following jumah, or Friday prayers, at local mosques.
“I’m very excited to expand my office’s availability to serve as a resource for the Bangladeshi community in Kensington and to finally offer Bengali assistance,” Lander (D-Park Slope-Kensington-Borough Park) said. “The Bangladeshi community is an essential part of the broader community in Kensington, but one with its own particular needs. I’m excited to have Ruby work together with so many of Kensington’s leaders to serve this incredibly special neighborhood as best we can.”
The office, located at 486 McDonald Ave., has hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to assist Bangladeshi residents.
Lander’s staff is available to assist residents with a wide array of government services, including help signing up for SNAP benefits, Medicaid/Medicare issues, following up 311 complaints with city agencies and advice on tenant rights and eviction prevention.
“A lot of us do not know where to go for help. I think it is great that someone from the City Council will be available to help us in our neighborhood,” said Nazma Akhter, a longtime resident of Kensington.
“The Bangladeshi community, like any other community, has the right to have city services they can actually access,” Abdul said. “In Kensington, I hope to create a hub for community organizing, and to help people gain access to city services despite language barriers. I look forward to earning the trust of Bangladeshi members and serving as their voice and navigator through the city system.”
“I am really delighted that Councilmember Brad Lander is holding office hours in the neighborhood,” said Mohammed Hashem, president of the Bangladesh Muslim Center. “We welcome these efforts and I truly believe this is a great source of assistance and will be beneficial for many of us in the community. Truly a great way to connect with the people who represent us and bring them one step closer to knowing our needs. So on behalf of the community, I want to welcome Ruby and wish her the best.”
Annie Ferdous, a member of Community Board 12 and the founder of the Bangladesh Institute for Performing Arts, predicted that the Kensington community will “greatly benefit” from the new office. “I am so excited to know that Councilmember Brad Lander appointed a Bengali woman, Rubina Abdul, to help the Bangladeshi community [members] that are struggling with language,” she said.
Religious leaders also praised Lander’s effort to reach out to the immigrant community.
“Boro Park Jewish Community Council is proud to join Councilmember Lander’s efforts to serve our friends in the Bangladeshi community,” said Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, executive director of the Boro Park Jewish Community Council.
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