Vigil held for Queens residents as leaders call for more action

Posted at 11:01 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 23:01:41-04

CORONA, Queens — COVID-19 has decimated parts of Queens, including Corona, Elmhurt, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

Thursday night, community members gathered to mourn those they've lost, with their names written on paper surrounded by cancles.

"One of my uncles had to keep working," said Marilyn Mendoza. "He put his life at risk."

Once at the hospital, her uncle didn't make it through the night, she said.

Friends, neighbors and family members came together for a vigil in Corona Plaza, adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The emotional toll of losing loved ones has only been compounded by the financial devastation for these residents.

And many of them not eligible for stimulus checks due to their immigration status.

State Sen. Jessica Ramos has an ambitious proposal, which would give families that don't qualify for stimulus, including undocumented immigrants, $3,300 a month during the pandemic. The money, she said, would come from taxing the city's billionaires.

It's not just these people in need — it's their businesses, too.

"Small businesses are closing their doors. Big businesses are being bailed out, yet these small business owners have been forgotten," said City Councilmember Francisco Moya.