By Victoria Merlino
Community leaders gathered in Jackson Heights on Sunday to honor the late State Sen. José Peralta by co-naming 79th Street between 37th Avenue and 35th Avenue “State Senator José R. Peralta Way.”
"Today we honor the life of an extraordinary man who dedicated his professional life to serving the neighborhoods that comprise Northwest Queens," area Councilmember Daniel Dromm said.
“Senator Peralta and I were friends for close to 20 years. As we were both fond of saying, ‘he was my brother from another mother.’ Senator Peralta’s work in the local community and his dedication to immigrant New Yorkers makes him truly deserving of this commemoration. May his selfless devotion to the people of Queens inspire a new generation of leadership,” he continued.
Peralta, who died in November 2018 at the age of 47, was the first Dominican-American elected to the New York Senate when he took office in 2010. He was also a member of the State Assembly from 2002 to 2010.
Notably, he championed the New York State DREAM Act, later renamed the José Peralta New York State DREAM Act, which offers undocumented students state scholarships and grants.
“No one is more deserving of this incredible honor than my late husband Senator José R. Peralta,” said Evelyn Peralta, a long-time civic leader and the late senator’s wife. “From DREAMers, to low wage workers, to seniors, José fought every day to protect their rights and dignity. My late husband paved the way for so many, and this sign will be a reminder of his unwavering dedication and unconditional love for his community.”
A host of elected officials attended the ceremony, including New York State Attorney General Letitia James; U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.; State Sens. Toby Ann Stavisky and Luis Sepulveda; Assemblymembers Catalina Cruz, Michael DenDekker, David Weprin and Karines Reyes; and Councilmembers Francisco Moya, Jimmy Van Bramer and Donovan Richards and Ydanis Rodriguez.