Foro Latino de los aspirantes a la alcaldia “Filadelfia Decide” Teatro Esperanza, 10 abril 2023. (Foto: Jesús Rincón)

On April 10th, Esperanza, along with Impacto Media, Univision, and Ceiba’s Latino Equitable Development Collective, held the first Latino Mayoral Forum in Philadelphia. Candidates were asked the kinds of questions Latino communities confront every day – about the quality of their children’s education now; about having a home to sleep in tonight; about the sweltering heat rising in their neighborhoods.

Over 200 Black and Latino neighborhood block captains, small business owners, clergy, parents, students, and community leaders attended the forum. Almost 2000 tuned in to a livestream with simultaneous Spanish interpretation by Univision 65.

 Esperanza is proud of this collaboration, which brought mayoral candidates to Latino North Philadelphia to address questions on issues that matter to local residents and gave them a front row seat to hear their answers.

For many people in attendance, the Latino Mayoral Forum demystified an aspect of the political process that is often unseen in their neighborhoods. It created a space for conversations that often feel inaccessible to the Spanish-speaking bodega owner, the Latino parent working multiple shifts to keep food on the table, or the high school student in a government class.

Unfortunately, mayoral candidates fumbled an opportunity to address the needs of a community that is now at least 16% of this city’s population with answers that lacked specificity and did not genuinely address Latino experiences.

 It is time for mayoral candidates to be accountable to the communities with the highest, most urgent stakes not only in the results of this election but in the ability of the municipal government to do its job.

In the midst of a water crisis, a quarter of Philadelphia residents who speak languages other than English were left scrambling for information.

As climate change triggers higher temperatures, residents in neighborhoods like Hunting Park, which is more than 65% Latino, are left to pay a higher price.

Older buildings, more pavement and exposed asphalt, and fewer green spaces, produce temperatures up to 22 degrees higher than other parts of the city.

In this neighborhood, where the median household income of $35,600 is well below the city’s $52,649, households must pay more in cooling bills if cooling is an option at all. 

Creating the conditions of possibility for the structural transformation Latino communities need includes electing a mayor who is responsive to their needs and capable of going beyond talking points and band-aid solutions to poverty and historical disinvestment.

 Latino voters are rising, not just here, but across the country. Esperanza is committed to making space for Latino voices to hold elected leaders accountable to continue building opportunity communities where all can thrive. 


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