Benya Valencia, Centro Corona
by Benjamin Fang
Oct 16, 2019 | 485 views | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As a member and leader of the community organization Centro Corona, Benya Valencia has been working to raise political awareness about the conditions people in their community live in.

“We try to engage the community with a lot of art and political engagement,” Valencia said.

Centro Corona, which centers its work on undocumented families and youth, provides a space where dance and arts programs can take place. The group also provides resources to the community, such as free legal consultations.

The organization is also part of a larger coalition called Hate Free Zone Queens, which aims to defend local communities from ICE raids, deportation, criminalization and violence.

Recently, as part of a Know Your Rights training against ICE, Centro Corona hosted a workshop about emergency planning. Organizers spoke about why families should plan documents and be prepared in case a crisis occurs, such as someone in an undocumented family being detained.

“There are a lot of families there that are of mixed status, and would fall under the umbrella of undocumented,” Valencia said about the neighborhood of Corona.

Centro Corona used to be located along Roosevelt Avenue for many years. But they were displaced, Valencia said, after the block was “bought up” by a large corporation.

Luckily, the group found a new space about a year ago where a restaurant used to operate.

“We fixed it all up,” Valencia said. “It’s much more serving our needs.”

In October, Centro Corona is hosting free film screenings on Friday and Saturday nights with the theme of Halloween and horror movies. Valencia said the events are open for people who just want to visit.

“We want to bring people in and be able to have spaces of joy, where they can come and relax, and not be worried about things,” they said.
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