Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk with Nora Litz and Rev. Danny Cortés
“I’ve been working with immigrant populations for 10 years now, and they are so ready to talk about it. It doesn’t matter what age group you belong to. It’s like being invisible most of the time, yet you have a story–a very important story–to say, to talk about. So once you open that door, it comes right out.”
FringeArts has had the opportunity to meet and hear about the amazing work that many different people and organizations in Philadelphia are doing to support their neighbors. On the latest Happy Hour on the Fringe, our hosts sit down with members of two organizations dedicated to improving the lives of Latinx men, women, and children living in Philadelphia.
Located in South Philly, Puentes de Salud (Bridges of Health) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that promotes the health and wellness of Philadelphia’s rapidly growing Latino immigrant population through a wide variety of programs. Their services range from providing high-quality and culturally competent healthcare, innovative educational programs that support young children through adults, legal support and community building, and the organization supports community members regardless of immigration status, race, and class. Nora Litz, as Director of Arts and Culture, guides children, adolescents, and adults as they use mixed media to recount their own personal immigration stories. The artists’ work has culminated in projects such as Las ligas que nos unen (“The Ties that Bind Us), which tells the stories of children from Puebla, San Lucas Atzala, San Andrés Calpan, and San Mateo Ozolco whose parents left them in order to find work in the U.S. and El viaje de los niños (“The Children’s Journey”), which was brought to FringeArts this November and tells the stories of Mexican immigrant children who have crossed the border to come live in Philadelphia. Although, Nora does not consider her work “art therapy,” it’s undeniable the overwhelmingly powerful effect telling their own stories through art have had on the participants. She lets us in on the process behind Salud de Puentes’ beautiful and meaningful projects.
On the other side of the city in Hunting Park, Esperanza, a faith-based nonprofit organization driven by the biblical mandate to “serve the least of these,” strengthens Hispanic communities through a large variety of educational, economic development, and advocacy programs and services. Their specific programs range from seemingly simple yet impactful programs such as distributing trees to community members to running the exceptional Esperanza Academy and Esperanza College (in partnership with Eastern College) to Esperanza’s latest project, the opening of a state-of-the-art theater in December. Rev. Danny Cortés, with his older brother Louis, sits at the forefront of this 30-year-old organization devoted to improving the barrio for the here and now and fortifying it for the future. For the second half of the episode, Raina and podcast producer, Sabrina, sit down with Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff of Esperanza, Reverend Danny Cortés, in the organization’s beautiful headquarters. He gives us a picture of how the organization got started and where it is going next.
Listen to the episode to learn more about Puentes de Salud and Esperanza’s work and how you can support them.
Learn more about Puentes de Salud: https://bit.ly/2hen25G
Learn more about other projects Nora Litz has led at Puentes de Salud:
Al Dia – https://bit.ly/2HwpQW5
Buzzfeed – https://bzfd.it/2rLLBuO
NBC News – https://nbcnews.to/2FJRDH5
Learn more about Esperanza – https://bit.ly/2Q2fSVG