Police found Ms. Colombia’s body in the waters off the Rockaway Peninsula. No foul play was suspected, and the medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.
Since hearing of her death, elected officials, neighbors and community members hosted an emotional vigil to remember La Paisa’s life. Hundreds turned out in front of the Jackson Heights Post Office, which signified just how much she meant to the neighborhood and how she impacted strangers’ lives.
La Paisa was remembered as a colorful, free-spirited and welcoming presence in the borough for decades. She was always seen sporting an assortment of colors, flowers and the signature bird on her shoulder.
Ms. Colombia represented the best of Queens. She was true to herself, and never shied away from the spotlight.
Though she faced her own problems, including being diagnosed with AIDS, Ms. Colombia always found a way to make others around her smile. She found joy in life, and inspired others to do the same.
At the next Queens Pride Parade, St. Pat’s For All or any number of cultural parades or celebrations, we won’t see Ms. Colombia twirling about. But we should honor her memory by living our lives to the fullest, and being our most authentic selves.
That’s how we honor the LGBT icon and Queens fixture known lovingly as La Paisa.