Queens Stories

Queens Stories

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Dec. 27. 2017 that he would pardon 61 New Yorkers including those facing deportation or barriers to becoming citizens.
One of the New Yorkers pardoned was Lorena Borjas, a 57-year-old Jackson Heights resident. Borjas was convicted of fourth-degree criminal facilitation in 1994 when she was 23 years old and a victim of human trafficking.

Borjas moved to the US when she was 21. She currently works as an educator at community health centers citywide. She is an advocate for transgender and immigrant communities, running HIV-testing programs for transgender sex workers, and syringe-exchange programs for transgender women taking hormone injections.

Cristina Rios was born and raised in Ecuador and came to the United States to Queens at the age of 22. Her grandfather was able to sponsor her coming to the United States. She’s Cristina a first generation immigrant and also a mother of a second-generation child.
Cristina was able to fight through all the struggles she faced as an immigrant, coming to queens, and follow her passion and achieve her dream. It would be a great opportunity to get a story about an immigrant who came to the United States during their early 20’s, and considers the United States their home. It shows a different perspective then first-generation youth face.

Giraldo Vega the father of Anthony Vega reminisced about his son, who died in 2009 when he was 11 years old after dealing with years of surgery to treat hydrocephalus, a condition where there is excess fluid in the brain that puts pressure on it.
After Anthony’s passing, Giraldo learned of other families whose family members were suffering as they awaited an organ transplant. Despite their grief Anthony’s family decided to donate his organs and that decision not only saved one person’s life but three.

Prasha is originally from Nepal and now lives in Queens. During her pregnancy Prasha was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues. As a result she was hospitalized and awaited a double lung transplant. This is the story of her long journey through the process while caring for a newborn, overcoming her fears and the transition she made back to her life as a working mom and a wife.

This is the story of an Afghan refugee who found a shelter in Pakistan after escaping from war-torn Afghanistan. Later, her and her family were able to come to the United States and settle with the hopes of building their life back to normal. During those times she lost some family members and was separated for years from others.

Shandra Woworuntu is a member of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, and a survivor of human trafficking and domestic violence.
Woworuntu was born in Indonesia, and in 2001 she travelled to the USA expecting a job in the hospitality industry, but was instead forced to work as a prostitute. She eventually escaped her captors and helped convict her traffickers. In 2010, Woworuntu was granted permanent residency in the USA.
On December 16, 2015, President Obama appointed Woworuntu as one of 11 members of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and the council held their first meeting on October 18, 2016.
She is the founder of the Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Empowerment Program – an organization aimed at empowering human trafficking victims