In Jackson Heights, a street party was held for Dia de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day.
Along the 34th Avenue Open Street, families from around Queens gathered to celebrate the day that is believed to be when the Three Magi visited baby Jesus. The holiday is customarily celebrated on January 6.
Hosted by Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), over 350 toys were given away to children as part of last week’s celebration, complete with Latin cuisine and other raffle giveaways.
Emily Rios, managing director of community services for the nonprofit, enjoyed a homemade tamale during the festivities while connecting with those who attended the street party.
Rios said the diverse community of Jackson Heights has revealed itself even more during these unprecedented times.
“Diversity in this area is its real strength,” said Rios. “We saw that just throughout the pandemic. I’ve never seen a community mobilize and support each other more so than Jackson Heights.”
AAFE has had a presence in Jackson Heights for nearly two years on 84th Street. The nonprofit also has offices in Flushing, where they hold their youth program. Many volunteers of last week’s street party, handing out popcorn and other snacks, were part of AAFE’s youth program.
The nonprofit also provides Chinese, Spanish and Nepali-speaking services, as well as senior benefit and immigration services. The nonprofit is also active in housing counseling and advocacy.
Rios anticipates the nonprofit's footprint to continue to grow within Queens’ most diverse neighborhood with a focus on an equitable recovery.
“Our goal in 2022 is to make sure that the recovery from the pandemic is equitable,” said Rios. “Community services and all social services need to continue being vigilant. Even with the pandemic, we’re out there providing services and up-to-date on everchanging policies and opportunities.”