For Janet Peguero, a 32-year-old Dominican, being the right-hand woman of the Bronx Borough President is a dream come true.
“For me this is the ‘American Dream,’ to get to a position where I can be a voice,” said Peguero.
This young woman, who at the age of six came from the Dominican Republic to upper Manhattan and later moved to the Bronx, makes history by becoming the first Hispanic to hold the position of Bronx Borough Vice President.
This is the first time that both positions, chairwoman and vice chairwoman, will be held by women of color.
“Women are running for public office (that) they never design for us. And we are stepping up in a big way,” said Vanessa L. Gibson, Bronx Borough President.
In her first days in this position, Peguero has been working to assist victims of the most tragic fire in New York in recent decades.
She is focused on raising funds for funerals and to provide permanent housing for more than 60 victims.
“We are identifying what type of boucher each family member has, each apartment and if they want to move, working with each family to transfer the boucher to another apartment,” explained Peguero.
After working in supermarkets and stores, Peguero saw the importance of studies.
She earned a degree in sociology and Latin American history from Binghamton University. She was the first in her family to graduate.
“This is a reflection of my parents’ sacrifices, also a reflection of what you can get when you really work.”
Peguero is one of five sisters.
Her mother works in a public school cafeteria.
Her father, who passed away 10 years ago, worked as a cab driver and in a school as a teacher’s aide.
For many years her family depended on welfare to support themselves.
“I am a product of public programs, raised on food stamps, section 8, helping my mom fill out those applications,” Peguero revealed.
Among the future plans of Yanet, who has been married for five years, is to start a family and continue representing her community.
“Because we can do it. We women can do it and we can do it well,” Peguero told NY-1 Noticias.