Oct. 7, 2019 By Allie Griffin
Dozens of community members and local elected officials joined together in Jackson Heights Sunday for a special street co-naming ceremony to remember the late State Senator José Peralta who passed away last fall.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, 79th Street between 37th Avenue and 35th Avenue in Jackson Heights was co-named “State Senator José R. Peralta Way.” The ceremony brought together local officials, neighbors and the family and friends of Peralta, including his wife and children.
City Council Member Daniel Dromm passed legislation to co-name the street in honor of Peralta. Dromm described Peralta as “a beloved civic leader and elected official who left an indelible mark on the community he served for many years.”
Peralta made history by becoming the first Dominican-American elected to the New York Senate when he was voted into office in March 2010. He served Senate District 13 from 2010 until his death on Nov. 21, 2018 at 47 years of age.
Peralta was most known for his support of undocumented immigrants, specifically young people who he believed deserved equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream.
In 2013, he introduced the New York State DREAM Act and built support for the bill in following years. It was passed and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year and was renamed the José Peralta New York State DREAM Act after his death. Undocumented children, who are students in New York schools, now have access to state aid for higher education.
The late senator’s tenure was also marked by a focus on immigration justice, support for working class families, access to quality education for all children and advocacy for LGBT rights.
Prior to his service in the State Senate, Peralta served in the State Assembly from 2002 to 2010. He was a member of the New York Senate Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian caucuses, and of the Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force.
“New York political history will remember Peralta as a legislator of principled advocacy and genuine kindness,” Dromm said. “The Peralta family looks forward to watching his legacy live on through every civic-minded young person inspired to serve their community and fight for a more just America.”