A Filipina nurse’s daughter runs for Queens, NY District Attorney
NEW YORK — Mina Malik, the daughter of a nurse from the Philippines and a South Asian father, is running for the position of Queens District Attorney.
Raised in the working-class communities of Corona and Elmhurst, Queens, she said she wanted early on to get involved in criminal justice. She was once attacked outside her school and hospitalized for a week
“I wanted to give voice to the voiceless,” she told a gathering of the Ilocano Association of America, Inc. on June 1. She became an attorney, a prosecutor and law professor, driven, she stressed, toward restoring fairness in the criminal justice system.
“There are seven candidates in this race. Every candidate has talked about criminal justice reform, but no one has done it except for me,” said Malik, a former Queens Assistant District Attorney and Special Victims prosecutor for nearly a decade. In that role, she has worked toward prosecuting human traffickers, serial rapists, child molesters and violent repeat offenders.
“While working as a Special Victims prosecutor, I worked with countless people who were survivors of sexual abuse and assault. I am adamantly committed to ensuring that the Queens District Attorney’s Office protects survivors, plays an active role in their healing, and prioritizes not re-traumatizing them,” she said.
She most recently served as Deputy Attorney General in the District of Columbia. She was previously Special Counsel to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.
Malik said her parents came to the U.S. in the early 1970s by way of her mother’s profession as a registered nurse.
“My mother actually had the opportunity and the pathway,” she told the Ilocano association. She was offered a job in New York as a nurse. She was born in Tayum, Abra, an Ilocano-speaking province in the northern Philippines. “She came here with my father and me and nothing but a hundred dollars in her pockets. She is one of nine siblings.”
In the U.S., Malik said her mother made sure that she learned the culture of the Philippines “even though we were not in the Philippines.”
“To this day, she still lives in the same house in Elmhurst,” Malik continued. “To this day, she still instills in me a strong work ethic making sure that I respect God, and thank him for all things and making sure that I give back to our community because we always have to reach back and help others and those that we have left behind. I have 21 first cousins. A lot of them are still back in the Philippines because they couldn’t get a visa to come here.”
Her father, who is of Pakistani ethnicity, worked as a machine worker. She takes pride in being the daughter of union workers.
She shared with writer Marilyn Abalos how she was assaulted outside of her school. According to Malik, language barrier and a general lack of knowledge on how to work with the police or judicial system allowed her attackers to get away.
“She has the experience,” said Abalos. “One of the reforms she plans to introduce is to hire translators and make sure that people know how the justice system can help them. I believe she would be able to serve the large population of Queens and work with the over 300 attorneys in the Queens DA office.”
Jan Andrada, who listened to Malik speak before the Ilocano association, said the candidate is “very smart and very well experienced.”
The last time Queens elected a District Attorney was in 1971. Richard Brown, who served for 28 years — the longest in Queens history — passed away in May. The Democratic Primary is on June 25. @TheFilam.net