Statement from Rev. Luis Cortés

#EsperanzaNews, Featured, Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Philadelphia, PA –  June 4, 2020. It’s time for us to take a moment. To recognize that African American and Hispanic people are beginning to rebel against the forces of power that have been assaulting our community while we are expected to remain passive. It’s time to take a moment to be candid and clear about what we all know about what happens in our country.

We know how to recognize when the death of a black or brown man at the hands of a police officer is murder.

We know the Dixie flag is a flag of anti-American, pro-slavery traitors. We know that people who excuse murderers and traitors are enablers.

We know our labor is exploited, even though we are called “essential” during times of crisis; we have always been paid as if we are modern-day serfs.

We know why our schools aren’t funded – so our children can’t compete with those that can afford a better education.

We know why black and brown people die of coronavirus at higher rates than white people in cities across America – because of who has better nutrition, better healthcare, and better employment achieved via family and social networks, that allows them to work from home.

We want the full benefits of the social compact promised to us in the constitution and bill of rights, that the power elite and political class of this country have constantly failed to provide. We – the systemically oppressed and disadvantaged – are not so naïve and unaware as the wealthy and powerful believe. Our social compact is supposed to guarantee that when we work, participate, and contribute to our civil society, our sons and daughters will be protected. Our political “leadership” – you have failed us. You allow racists to run amok with guns and Dixie flags in public rallies while you exonerate murderers. You deny us healthcare, so when a deadly disease arrives, we die in greater numbers. At the very same time we are suffering and dying more than anyone else in America, you call us “essential,” you rely on us to keep food on your table, and fail to protect us from further harm.

Murderers must be arrested and put in jail.

Traitors and racists must be called traitors and racists.

Enablers must be removed from leadership.

Low-income school districts must be funded on par with top-funded districts across their states.

High-quality universal healthcare must be provided to every American.

Jobs must pay livable wages.

Ultrawealthy individuals like Jeff Bezos and companies like Amazon must pay their fair share in taxes.

We want to own the companies that we bail out with our tax dollars.

We want protection from technology companies that intrude in our lives and in our privacy, profiting on our data and manipulating our society under the guise that they are helping us.

In the coming months, we will find ways to respond. There are deep divides in our nation, and we must expose the ugly truths that prevent us from creating a peaceful and prosperous society for all. Today we will begin, by using the language that speaks the truth about our conditions. We will call people who they are: Murderers. Racists. Thieves. Enablers.

We have allowed the truth to be ignored for long enough. Those of you who create these conditions for your own gain must be exposed. We will organize until the change that is necessary is achieved.

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.