October 19th. Mark your calendars.
New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced that October 19th would now be known as “Waris Ahluwalia Day” in honor of the man’s accolades.
Ahluwalia, among other things, is a renowned model, writer and designer. In February, he made headlines when he was denied the right to board an Aeromexico flight from Mexico City for New York Fashion Week.
At a time when racism and xenophobia against South Asians and Muslims is at a high, this comes as a warm acknowledgment about the struggles of people like Ahluwalia. After 9/11, Ahluwalia said he was harassed on New York City’s streets for wearing his turban. Now, the same city will honor him for an entire day every year.
De Blasio made this announcement at a Diwali ceremony in Manhattan, in Ahluwalia’s hometown, to a crowd of South Asian attendants.
“Diwali is more relevant today, this year, than ever,” Ahluwalia said. “A festival that celebrates good over evil and knowledge over ignorance is a festival for all humanity. It knows no borders. It knows no race.”