This is why AL DÍA celebrates Hispanic Heritage in Philadelphia
Enough is enough. We are exhausted of the #Stereotype. But wait! This is coming: The #ALDIArchetype, a better way of looking at our Common American Heritage.
America, and Philadelphia in particular, has been attracting thinkers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and visionaries of Hispanic descent ever since Hispanic military leader Bernardo de Gálvez commanded troops against the British in 1781 during the American Revolution.
Take for example Ambassador Manuel Torres, who settled here in our city in 1796, 20 years after our founding fathers gathered that historic day of July the 4th, 1776, at Independence Hall, not far from where Manuel lived on Spruce Street for over 30 years— and eventually died, only months after being recognized by US President James Monroe as the first Ambassador from a Latin American nation in North America. He is buried today in Old City, in St Mary's Church Graveyard, where he was interred with military honors, 195 years ago, by his fellow Philadelphians.
Or Father Felix Varela, the Cuban priest who published in Philadelphia his historic “El Habanero” Journal in 1823, or Francisco Miranda, the Venezuelan hero who met our founding fathers on Market Street when he came to our city at the end of the 18th Century in search of inspiration and support for his own war of liberation of South America against the Spanish Empire.
These "Archetypes of the Hispanic Heritage" abound in our history.
Today, more than ever before, and in a trying time for our nation, they are more frequent, and they are alive, and they are here playing key roles in our public life.
- Felipe Restrepo, Judge U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
- Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University.
- Alba Martínez, Principal, The Vanguard Group.
- Peter Gonzales, President & CEO of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians.
- Dr. José Russo, Director of Fox Chase Breast Cancer Research Lab.
Notable and accomplished, they are however very often little known in Philadelphia and across the country as they go unmentioned in our so-called mainstream media.
Furthermore, their names maybe overshadowed by the constant barrage of #Stereotypes that unfortunately prevail over that same media whenever the "Latino" or "Hispanic" labels are occasionally used, carrying over burdensome semantics that —just for the sake of accuracy and clarity— we all should agree to amend.
AL DÍA’s Hispanic Heritage Awards hopes to make a contribution to the better understanding of this increasingly important part of the Common American Heritage by finally acknowledging each other, and bringing each year out of the shadows these outstanding individuals — the #ALDIArchetypes of American Heritage, as we call them — that have chosen to live and work here in our midst.
By doing so, they are helping make the great city of Philadelphia, at the beginning of this auspicious 21st Century, a truly diverse and multicultural urban center on the Eastern seaboard, one with a renewed aspiration to stand up, and be, once again, a true leader as a global city — as we were in 1776, when the knowledge, brain and willpower gathered here gave birth to the political, economic and cultural miracle we call today the United States of America.
Philadelphia, August 15, 2018