The true reason why AL DIA was born here in Philadelphia
Fortunately, now half of my life has been spent in the "City of Brotherly Love," here in Philadelphia, the city that gave birth in the 18th century to the greatest nation on earth, with individual liberties, rights of expression, association, religion, and freedom for entrepreneurship that is the envy of the world.
When I was a teenager, I was already troubled with what to do with the rest of my life.
My two older brothers had already gone to college and had graduated, with all honors, as engineers — one an electrical engineer and the other a mechanical engineer — professions that came with great reputations and also guarantees of permanent jobs in prestigious companies and inevitable prosperity for the graduate of those exact sciences.
Based on my own calculations using my mathematics — an exact science in which I was rather incompetent — I had decided that two engineers were enough in a family of three siblings.
Fortunately, now half of my life has been spent in the "City of Brotherly Love," here in Philadelphia, the city that gave birth in 1776, between Market and Chestnut streets, to the greatest nation on earth at the end of the 18th century.
A unique nation, with amazing liberties for its citizens: individual rights of self-expression, association, and religion, and also freedoms for entrepreneurship that are the envy of the world.
I am content here, more than I can say.
But I thought I was an unhappy young man back when I was trying to decide which profession I should choose, because I bore the responsibility of being a male in the family, with the right to go to college, and to "be somebody" in life.
And to duly return the honor to the courageous parents who raised me — with the not so clearly stated goal of "raising high" the family name.
It has been more than four decades since my adolescence, and in a way I am still concerned with that to do with the rest of my life.
Concerned, I still say, because I wish I had more than one hour a day to write this column I promised my managing editor I would finish every Tuesday morning, on time for the weekly edition of the publication.
I started that publication in my modest home in North Philadelphia where I lived 23 years ago, just so that I could exercise my profession, this time-consuming one of crafting sentences, designing and editing pages, in a city where to land a job as a bilingual and multicultural reporter proved to be impossible in 1991, when I went to to seek a job at the "Philadelphia Daily News" of this city.
Two university diplomas in journalism, one undergraduate and other graduate, and more than four years of hands-on experience working in a daily paper, didn't prove to be enough to qualify me as for the newsroom of the prestigious local daily.
As a result of that, AL DIA was born, almost by force of paradoxical circumstance.
It may be almost as paradoxical that this same news media company, proudly born in the "barrio" but today operating out of the prestigious Philadelphia financial district on the west side of Market Street, now demands intense and long hours of work in my role of CEO, eliminating almost altogether the possibility that I practice the very profession for which I went to college, for the first time 36 years ago.(*) Hernán Guaracao is the Founder & Chairman of the AL DÍA Foundation, and the Founder & CEO of AL DÍA News Media, Philadelphia's premiere Latino News Media