Visit Philadelphia celebrates Hispanic Voices

A screenshot of Visit Philadelphia’s ‘Hispanic Voices’ series.
A screenshot of Visit Philadelphia’s ‘Hispanic Voices’ series. (Photo: Courtesy of Visit Philadelphia)

It might be the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month, but there’s always a time to learn something new about someone who shares different experiences. For example, someone could be Black, Asian and Hispanic. Someone else could be part of the Latino and LGBTQ+ communities. And sometimes, unfortunately but highly relatable, someone could feel “not enough” of one community in which they belong.

From there, we learn that we have more things in common than we oppose. This is what Visit Philadelphia’s newest Hispanic Heritage Month project, “Hispanic Voices” highlights. 

“Hispanic Voices,” a series in the second installment of Visit Philadelphia’s “In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union” campaign, showcases the different stories and lives of those in the Hispanic and Latino communities in the city. This television spot focuses on 35 Philadelphians in total, representing 10 Hispanic and Latino cultures from a variety of fields in arts, tourism, business and more. The highlighted stories also discuss the intersection of race and ethnicity and embracing their American selves. 

A few members of both the Hispanic and Latino communities and in the LGBTQ+ community are particularly excited for the public to learn from this project. Visit Philadelphia’s Chief Marketing Officer, Neil Frauenglass, is very excited about the project and how it will create learning experiences for others who don’t know much about the Hispanic and Latino communities.

“As we think about history [and] heritage months, there are opportunities for us to highlight different communities, but it’s so important for us to be speaking to diverse communities 365 days a year,” Frauenglass said. “What we try to do is really just dig into what’s happening in that specific community right now.”

Another person involved in the project, Martin Alfaro, is excited to share the true diversity that lies in the Hispanic and Latino community.

“I think this campaign, in particular, really hits home on what it means to be Latino or Hispanic and to showcase the diversity that exists. And the fact that it highlights the fact that we’re not a monolith,” Alfaro said. “And I think that’s a great lesson for people to learn from this campaign. And to see that we all come in different shapes and forms and colors.”

For this project, 35 Hispanic and Latino Philadelphians were interviewed. Each of them shared their stories and they got posted on the Visit Philadelphia website. Four of those videos were highlighted in longer form, giving these individuals a platform to talk about their own experiences.

Especially when it came to highlighting the intersection of these communities and the LGBTQ+ community, Frauenglass wanted to hone in on the more pressing issues surrounding the community. Then from there, find a way to shed a light on that issue or perspective and speak to the whole community at once. 

One of the participants, Josue Diaz-Melendez, is inspired by the idea of giving a voice to misunderstood communities in the medical field.

“I’m currently a first-year medical student at Thomas Jefferson and one of the things that drives me to want to pursue a career in medicine is because I want to be able to help a lot of these people in my community,” Melendez said.

Melendez described his experiences in both the Hispanic and Latino community and being LGBTQ+ and how they clash, but can also prove to be an asset in his career.

“I can take my own sort of cultural upbringing and use it as an asset, like being able to treat someone who only speaks Spanish, because I’m fluent in Spanish, and I can communicate something so important to a person,” he said.

Another participant, Govan Gonzalez, spoke about how he wants people to learn about the different ethnicities and how much both communities make an impact locally and nationally. 

“The gay community and Hispanic community are kind of fighting the same battle,” Gonzalez said. “They just don’t realize it. They’re at two different thinking standpoints, but ultimately, they’ll arrive at the same conclusion. I hope that people can see the scope of different ethnicities in Philadelphia and really see a community that does exist in Philadelphia, and that really does need them not just in the city but nationwide.”

Frauenglass said Visit Philadelphia is thankful that “the Hispanic and Latino community here in Philadelphia, trusted us to participate in this work, and trusted us to help tell their individual stories.”

“I just think even if one person sees this campaign and feels better understood and more seen, then I think that’s a win,” Frauenglass said.

The “Hispanic Voices” video series can be found on the Visit Philadelphia website and YouTube page.

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