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Hostos Alumnus, Nelson Torres, Director of the Bronx Hispanic AIDS Forum Receives Emerging Leadership Award from the National Association of Social Workers

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 (Bronx, NY) - On December 1st, 2011, Lehman and Hostos alumnus Nelson Torres (B.A., ’98; M.S.W., ’08) received an Emerging Leadership Award from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for his work with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LBGT) community of the Bronx.

 “What is particularly great about Nelson is his empathy and support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens who are struggling with their sexual identity and coming out,” noted Dr. Carl Mazza, who directs Lehman’s Master of Social Work program. “He has, almost singlehandedly, developed an annual ‘Coming Out’ event at Hostos Community College for young people in the Borough and that is extremely significant.”

Hostos Registrar, Nelida Pastoriza has kept a close relationship with Nelson throughout the years and remarked, “I am proud of Nelson’s accomplishments. He came to my office as a student worker and in the process was encouraged to graduate from Hostos and to further his education at Lehman College. He is a family member to me.”

At this year’s Coming Out day held on Oct.14th more than 700 attendees showed up to the event including Bronx Borough President Ruben Díaz, Jr.

Torres was himself a victim of a hate crime. In 2005, he was assaulted by a group of 15 to 20 youths because they assumed he was gay. The crime strengthened his resolve to help people who are affected by homophobia.

After working with street workers and other members of the LBGT communities he began to work for the Hispanic AIDS Forum. Torres also helps young Latinos who are ostracized by their families for their sexual orientation.

"There is a lot of hate crime and homophobia in the Bronx and we need to celebrate our Borough's diversity so that everyone can feel included," indicated Torres at the award ceremony.

Born in Puerto Rico, Torres migrated to New York with his family in 1988. After graduating from Lehman with a degree in sociology, he went to work as a case manager with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, working in homelessness prevention and later in prevention services for children.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York system, was founded in 1968.  Located in the South Bronx, the college currently serves nearly 7,000 students.  In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Continuing Education and Professional Studies Department that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in the fall of 1970 to the spring 2010 enrollment of over 7,000 students.  The college also serves an additional 12,000 students through its Continuing Education and Professional Studies Department. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College visit www.hostos.cuny.edu.

Media Contact:
Ana M. Carrión - amcarrion@hostos.cuny.edu
Soldanela Rivera - srlopez@hostos.cuny.edu
Phone: 718-518-6872 or 917-627-9097


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