We mourn the death of George Floyd and the countless other lives that have been lost due to racial injustice. Racism in all its forms is a violation of the values we profess to hold as a nation, and as people of faith. We recognize that our own mission to strengthen Hispanic communities is only possible when every member of our communities and neighborhoods is treated with dignity and respect.
Each day, we inspire children, youth, and adults to pursue their dreams and greater economic mobility; to know that their voices and leadership are necessary to eliminate barriers to their progress and have the lives they so deserve. When the ability to live, to travel freely without fear, to attend school, to access employment, and to receive legal justice – in short, to thrive- are afforded to some and denied to others inequitably on the basis of their skin color, there cannot be true progress. These injustices should concern us all.
Esperanza serves nearly 25,000 individuals and families each year driven by the call to serve “the least of these” who are marginalized and overlooked in our communities. We must continue to look carefully at our institutions, public leadership, and systems, and to use our collective voices to call for the needed reforms that will lead to lasting change – a change that moves beyond words of peace, to justice and opportunity for those for whom it has been denied.
Struggle for change is part of the Esperanza legacy. Advocating for our civil rights, for personal and systemic transformation is part of Esperanza’s history. Since our founding by the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia, we have organized to address and speak to the lack of representation in city government and the social service sector; to advocate for access to financing and participated in the opening of the first Black-owned bank in Philadelphia; to address police relations in the barrio (neighborhood); to demand equal investment in the education of our children, and work for immigration reform, among other critical issues. We stand in solidarity with calls for justice for the black community in our city.
We know that hearts are heavy and weary. In these difficult times, we must each remain committed to listening, learning, and taking a stand within our own spheres of influence. We can each use the opportunities we have been given to offer healing and hope to others and to ensure that together, we move forward.
Judith Torres-Lynch, Esperanza Board Chair
Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr., Esperanza Founder President & CEO
About Esperanza. Esperanza is a national community-based social benefit organization founded in 1986 by Rev. Luis Cortés and the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity with the biblical mandate to serve and advocate for “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40). Beginning with a local initiative, with programs targeted to address the unmet needs of North Philadelphia’s Hispanic community, Rev. Cortés is now sought by national and international leaders alike on issues of economic and workforce development, housing, immigration, and education. Under his leadership, Esperanza has grown from a small operation to a $50 million organization with more than 500 employees. Follow us on social media @esperanza_us on Twitter and Instagram, EsperanzaUSA on Facebook and Esperanza US on YouTube.
About Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr. The Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr. is the Founder, President and CEO of Esperanza. Driven by a mission to strengthen Hispanic communities, Rev. Cortés founded Esperanza in 1986 with support from the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia, one of the leading voices for Latinos in America. Rev. Cortés is sought by national and international leaders alike on issues of economic and workforce development, housing, immigration, and education.