Headshot Collage. 35 Philadelphian’s highlighted in the Hispanic Voices cultural-awareness campaign. (Photo: Daniel Knoll for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®/File)

The cultural-awareness campaign highlights 35 diverse Hispanic Philadelphian’s representing diverse communities.

In the United States, Latinos are often overlooked. Latinos get stereotyped and are often asked uncomfortable questions about their identity and where they come from.

Where are you from?

What are you?

Were you born here?

You don’t look Latino?

You don’t speak Spanish?

These are just a few reasons why Visit Philadelphia launched Hispanic Voices, a cultural-awareness campaign that spotlights the rich diversity within Hispanic and Latino communities while honoring community members’ distinct American identities. This campaign centers around a 30-second TV spot and social media campaign that highlights 35 diverse Hispanic Philadelphians representing all ages, walks of life and industries including arts, culinary, media, tourism, and entrepreneurship.

The campaign also features a four-part social media video series highlighting representatives from the four largest Hispanic communities in Philadelphia, as indicated by recent census data: Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican and Colombian. They candidly share their experiences and discuss the intersection of race and ethnicity while offering insights into their preference for being called either Hispanic or Latino and reflect on the significance of embracing their American identity.

Although Hispanic Heritage Months ends on October 15, this does not mean that stories stop

I had the amazing opportunity to lead key elements of this initiative in addition to being featured alongside so many colleagues. Each person represented themselves, their community, their culture and so much more than they could imagine. It was amazing to learn about their backgrounds, where they work and why being Latino is important to them.

On a national level, Latinos make up 19% of the US Population currently at 62.6 million (2020 U.S. Census). In Philadelphia, Latinos make up 16.1% of the US population currently at 238,112 (2020 U.S. Census).

Growing every year, Philadelphia’s Latino community is full of vibrant businesses, influential people and includes a diverse group of people. It’s not just one type of person.

“Being a part of [the campaign] is important because one can get a sense of the Hispanic community in Philadelphia,” Ja-mel Vereen, executive producer at Wooder Ice said. “It shows that Hispanic people can thrive in different industries and doesn’t pigeonhole a group into one thing.”

In addition to serving as an executive producer for Wooder Ice, a digital platform providing «your scoop to Philly,” Ja-mel also serves as a producer creating content, and emceeing events. His energy and willingness to speak candidly about his dual identity speaks volumes.

Ja-mel identifies as “Blaxican” since he is both African American and Mexican-American. “It’s a privilege being mixed, ‘a Blaxican.’ I grew up with the best of both worlds. Although I grew up in two different cultures, my upbringing felt the same when I was in both communities.”

The cultural awareness campaign is just one example of what others should continue to do throughout the entire year, not just Hispanic Heritage Month. As Latinos, we are always looking to see who looks like us, who speaks like us, who shares a similar story.

There are 238,000+ Latinos in our city alone. Go and meet them. Mentor them. Connect with them. Learn from them

“The Hispanic Voices campaign is important to me because I can be an example for many women who, like me, once had a dream,” Carrie Cayetana Rodriguez, another participant, said. “By not only reading my story and others, they can notice that they are not alone. In our community there are people willing to listen and help them achieve anything they dream of.”

Victor Tejada, founder of DeliveryGuys App, said it best in his video feature, “Creo que la mezcla de toda esa cultura unida hace que Filadelfia sea super especial.”

The 30-second spot is airing on streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and Peacock and on social media. You can read more about the campaign at visitphilly.com/hispanicvoices.


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