- The Democratic Party District Leader, who died last year, made history in January 2004, by becoming the first Indian American woman to be elevated to that position in Queens, New York.
Uma Sengupta, a long-time educationist, activist, and community leader was honored earlier this month with a street sign bearing her name. She made history in January 2004, by becoming the first Indian American woman to be sworn in as the Democratic Party District Leader of the 25th Assembly District, Part B, in Queens. She died in March last year. Elected officials as well as friends and family of the Indian American trailblazer attended the street co-naming ceremony on Oct. 16 at the intersection of 152nd Street and Union Turnpike in the Briarwood section of Queens, the QNS reported.
The City Council bill to honor Sengupta, which was passed earlier this year, was authored by Council Member James F. Gennaro, the QNS report said. Gennaro attended the street naming ceremony. He told the attendees that Sengupta, who was “well known for her activism and decades of community service,” was a trailblazer in the political scene here in Queens and beyond,” the QNS reported him as saying. “It is my hope that anytime someone comes down 152nd Street and Union Turnpike, they are reminded of the great legacy she leaves behind.”
Describing his mother as “a pioneer for women, educators and underserved as well as emerging immigrant groups,” her son, Sumit Sengupta said she was “affectionately known as the ‘mother of the community.” Speaking at the event, he told the attendees that the family hopes that the street sign will help “New Yorkers and visitors feel the warmth of a mother’s words of encouragement, inspiring them to continue in my mother’s legacy of community development, philanthropic service and progress for society.”
Attorney General Letitia James was also at the event. “I was proud to attend the street renaming to honor Uma SenGupta today,” she wrote on X. “Uma spent decades fighting for social, racial and economic justice. She embodied the very spirit of Queens, and now her legacy will not be forgotten.”
Sengupta came to New York over 60 years ago with her husband — the late Suprabhat Sengupta — and three children to build a new life. She founded a Montessori School that provided high-quality early childhood education and ran in Flushing for over 38 years. She is also remembered for her work in the community in which she diligently worked for Indian Americans to have a voice, access, and equity.