South Asian Nonprofit Cheers Withdrawal of Amazon

Chhaya Community Development Corporation of Queens at a rally opposing the deal with Amazon to build its second headquarters in Queens, NY. Seen in photo, Executive Director Annetta Seecharan, right, addressing the crowd. (Photo courtesy of Chhaya CDC via News India Times)

Chhaya Community Development Corporation (Chhaya CDC) is cheering the withdrawal of Amazon from Long Island City after the company announced on Feb. 14 it will no longer plans a New York City headquarters as a result of the backlash over the $3 billion in tax subsidies it would receive.

The nonprofit, founded in 2000, provides social services and support to low-income South Asian immigrants. Its director tells News India Times‘ Ela Dutt how and why the organization so strongly objected to the move.

“We worked really hard to fight this. We organized, rallied, partnered, made calls, petitioned. It really felt like a David versus Goliath kind of fight,” Annetta Seecharan, executive director of the organization told News India Times. “It would have had a devastating impact on Queens,” said Seecharan who clarified it was the non-transparent way in which the process of approval of this project had taken place that roused their ire. Besides, the jobs that Amazon promised, she said, “were not designed for people in our communities – those who we help. These are high tech jobs for highly educated people,” but she was quick to add, “Don’t get me wrong, it is not jobs we opposed, everybody needs jobs. But the process was not transparent.” It did not adhere to the regulations laid down in the Unified Land Use Review Process or ULURP.

Seecharan also described what she would like Gov. Cuomo to do with the $3 billion (although the $3 billion represented a subsidy in the form of tax breaks, not a direct transfer). Read more at News India Times.

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