Benilda Rojas – 1935-2019
Benilda Rojas died on December 8, 2019 after a struggle with dementia for two years. She was surrounded by her family, Martin Sanchez Rojas, daughter-in-law Wendy Rose Sanchez, and her grandsons, Gabe and Bobby Sanchez.
Benilda, known to friends as Doña Beni, was born in 1935 in Ayacucho, Peru. The daughter of Luis Rojas Huay, a police officer (d. 1979) and Maria Altamirano, a homemaker (d. 1944), she spoke Quechua as a child. When she was nine, she moved to Chosica, Peru. Benilda was predeceased by her sisters, Maria Luisa, Carmen, Gloria and Amelia. She has 3 surviving siblings, Gioavanna, Pablo Luis and Mario Quispe.
Benilda was a long time employee at the paper factory in Chosica, where she was a shop-steward and leader with the national union – CGTP in the 1960’s. She came to the US in 1969 and worked as a housekeeper. She earned her certification as a CNA and worked many years as a nurse’s aide in Long Beach, NY. She was active in the New York City area in worker and immigrant rights and worked with Latino leaders in the late 1970’s to insure there was an amnesty for immigrants. Her home was always a sanctuary for immigrants, mostly coming from Peru. She was a staunch supporter of indigenous rights in Peru and advocated that immigrant children in the US honor the cultural heritage of their home countries. She often shared bread, coffee and clothing with the workers waiting in the cold on Union Ave. in New Rochelle, where she lived for many years.
She was devoted to her grandsons and actively involved in their lives for 25 years. She walked them to Columbus School every day, attended soccer games, Open Mics, and school and cultural events with her family. She loved music, dancing, keeping up with current events, and was an amazing cook. Doña Beni lit up a room with her presence. Her generosity, optimism, humor, and zest for life will continue to warm the hearts of all who remember her.
Arrangements are being handled by Lloyd Maxcy Funeral Home in New Rochelle.
Visitation with family will be Saturday December 21, 2019 from 3pm-6pm.
A brief service will commence at 4:30pm.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Columbus Chess Club -https://columbus.nred.org.