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Queens Chronicle

Sukhi to celebrate July 4 their way

Informal music and picnic planned

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Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 12:52 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

No official fireworks or big productions here.

The nonprofit Sukhi, meaning inner peace in Hindi, formed last August to organize events and insure regular cleanings of the pedestrian plaza at 78th Street and 37th Road. Since then the group has made waves in the neighborhood.

For Independence Day members plan to make it all about community and bringing different background together, Sukhi co-founder Agha Saleh said.

“This neighborhood is like a living United Nations,” Saleh said. “We don’t want to focus on one community. Anyone is welcome — whatever faith or creed.

“It won’t be a regular organized thing,” he added.

Sukhi is inviting individuals and restaurants to contribute food and performers to play music on the plaza’s makeshift stage anytime from noon to midnight.

Musicians are asked to sign up 24 hours before July 4 by visiting Sukhi’s office at 73-19 37 Road or sending an email to suhkiny.org@gmail.com.

The group will provide extra seating and is in the midst of fixing the plaza’s overhead twinkle lights.

Saleh expects a couple thousand people coming and going throughout the day.

“We will do our best,” he said with a smile.

And the group has a history of doing so.

Last month the triangle dubbed Diversity Plaza hosted the Jackson Heights Arts Festival.

It has also seen political protests against poor working conditions in Bangladesh following the deadly factory fires and a vigil for Sunando Sen, a Hindu man who was pushed to his death on the elevated subway tracks by a woman who cited his ethnicity as her reason.

Last week Sukhi entered the realm of city government by hosting the city’s first outdoor community board meeting.

“We were able to reach over 200 people who did not have any knowledge about community boards and how they function, prior to last night’s meeting,” CB 3 Chairwoman Marta Lebreton and District Manager Giovanna Reid wrote in an email to Saled and Shazia Kausar, Saled’s wife and co-founder of Sukhi. “You played an integral part in helping us meet our objective: making the community aware of the community board and the issue confronting CB 3.”

Dera Restaurant, Alhamed Sweets, Kababish, Gourmet Restaurant and the food cart Sammy Gyro contributed food for the meeting.

“This is how they feel ownership in the community,” Saleh said.

Welcome to the discussion.