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Miss Universe honored in Woodside

By Bill Parry

Several hundred people packed La Boom New York in Woodside last Friday for a chance to meet Miss Universe, Paulina Vega, who was being honored for her work with organizations fighting HIV/AIDS. Vega was part of state Sen. Jose Peralta’s celebration of Women’s History Month.

It’s an issue that hits home in the East Elmhurst Democrat’s district.

“Here, in the United Nations of all Senate districts, we have a growing Latino population that is disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS,” Peralta said. “The estimated new infection rates among Hispanics in the United States is more than three times as high as that of whites, and among African-Americans is eight times that of whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The 22-year-old Colombian has been outspoken on the issue since she was crowned Miss Universe in January.

“I have begun to work with incredible organizations that work to raise awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS,” Vega said. “It’s something I’ve become passionate about and am eager to learn more and join the fight against this disease.”

Community activist Prisilla Carrow and Sarinya Srisakul, the FDNY’s only Asian-American female firefighter, were also among the honorees at Peralta’s event.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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