For Janet Peguero, a 32-year-old Dominican, being the right hand of the Bronx Borough President is a dream come true.
“For me this is the ‘American Dream,’ getting to a position where I can be a voice,” Peguero said.
This young woman, who at the age of six came from the Dominican Republic to upper Manhattan and then moved to the Bronx, makes history by becoming the first Hispanic to hold the position of vice president of the Bronx borough.
This is the first time that both positions, president and vice president, will be filled by women of color.
“Women are running for office (that) they never designed for us. And we’re stepping up in a big way,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson.
In his first days in this position, Peguero has had to work assisting victims of the most tragic fire in recent decades in New York.
It is focused on collecting 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, work with each family to transfer the ‘boucher’ to another apartment,” explained Peguero.
After having worked in supermarkets and stores, Peguero saw the importance of studies.
He 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 the sacrifices of my parents, also a reflection of what can be achieved when one really works.”
Peguero is one of 5 sisters.
His mom works in a public school cafeteria.
Her father, who passed away 10 years ago, worked as a taxi driver and as a teacher’s aide at a school.
For many years his family depended on welfare to support themselves.
“I am a product of public programs, raised under food stamps, section 8, helping my mother fill out those applications,” revealed Peguero.
Among the future plans of Yanet, who has been married for five years, is to start a family and continue to represent her community.
“Because we can. We women can do it and we can do it well,” said Peguero.