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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Philadelphia, Pa. – March 18, 2021. We Need SEPTA to Clean Up, Not Close Up  

 Esperanza is issuing a response to SEPTA’s closure of the Somerset Station on the Market-Frankford Line, located in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, effective Sunday, March 21st SEPTA has noted maintenance and safety concerns as the reason for this closure. Many neighborhood and community residents rely on Somerset Station in their daily commute, and now face the burden of having to walk further to reach another station. The very same safety concerns that have formed the basis for SEPTA closing the station will continue to impact the residents of the area despite the closure. SEPTA has irresponsibly approached the community without a plan or a processincluding a timeline. Residents should benefit from a comprehensive approach to addressing any safety issues, rather than bear the impact of limited services. 

For more than three decades, Esperanza has worked to strengthen our Hispanic communities and all who reside in them. Our mission to “serve the least of these” – the marginalized and underserved – means that what affects our communities just south of us affects all of us. Eastern North Philadelphia features The Golden Block (El Bloque de Oro) and a rich tapestry of small businesses, murals, non-profits and more, that form a valuable part of the tourist economy in Philadelphia. Therefore, Esperanza recommends that SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia clean up and secure the station, rather than close it up in order to demonstrate that it values all of its residents. This includes Latino residents who have already been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. 

Founder, CEO & President of EsperanzaThe Reverend Luis Cortes, Jr. said, “Philadelphia should not abandon its poorest citizens to the whims of people who are ill and living on the streets. To abandon the station is to also further gentrify our community.”  

Esperanza remains available to support our community with K-14 education, housing counseling, housing and economic development, workforce development, public benefits access, immigration legal services, performing arts and more. For more information about how to access services offered at Esperanza visit: https://www.esperanza.us/esperanza-visitor/.  

For media inquiries, please contact Samantha Martinez at (215) 324-0746 ext. 480 or smartinez@esperanza.us.   

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Esperanza is a national community-based social benefit organization founded in 1986 by the Reverend Luis Cortés Jr., 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 $52 million organization with more than 500 employees. Visit www.esperanza.us or follow us on social media @esperanza_us on Twitter and Instagram, EsperanzaUSA on Facebook and Esperanza US on YouTube.   

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