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Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez; the CEO of Esperanza, Luis Cortés; journalist Hellen Ubiñas and the activist and founder of the restaurant El Compadre, Cristina Martinez are the four most influential Latinos in Philadelphia.
Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez; the CEO of Esperanza, Luis Cortés; journalist Hellen Ubiñas and the activist and founder of the restaurant El Compadre, Cristina Martinez are the four most influential Latinos in Philadelphia.

Four Latinos Among Philadelphia's 100 Most Influential

Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez; the CEO of Esperanza, Luis Cortés; journalist Hellen Ubiñas and the activist and founder of the restaurant El Compadre,…

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Philadelphia Magazine published its list of the city's 100 most influential people, a rather difficult classification to do, as the media acknowledges, "there is no real way to quantify influence," but is interesting because it identifies those characters who play a determining role in shaping the local public opinion.

And I don’t have a clue if the fact that four Latinos - only four - appear on the list, is good or bad news. Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez leads the share in 22nd place. Philadelphia Magazine defines her as “The Establishment’s Worst Nightmare.”

The magazine highlights her ability to score legislative victories, the last one being the bill to subsidize the payment of water in poor communities that she managed to put into effect last summer. The media doesn’t hesitate to put Quiñones-Sánchez in the rattle of candidates for mayor in the elections of 2023.

The second Latino on the list is the Rev. Luis Cortés (position 80), founder and CEO of Esperanza, whom the media describes as the "divine interventionist" for his work at the head of an organization that affects the "transformation of the community Latino of North Philadelphia through initiatives of faith, education, and development."

Next on the list is Daily News columnist Helen Ubiñas, "Pissed-Off Voice of the People," according to the ranking, and whose columns have raised more than one blister in the local scene.

One of her most celebrated pieces is "I bought an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in Philly in 7 minutes"; a column published on Philly.com in June last year, a day after the massacre at the Pulse Club in Orlando, FL, in which the Hispanic columnist drew attention to how easy it is for anyone to buy weapons as deadly as an assault rifle.

Ronnie Polaneczky, a colleague consulted by Philadelphia Magazine, says, "The city needed a columnist like Helen (…) an outsider unafraid to call bullshit on everyday insults that Philadelphians were so used to that they stopped seeing them”.

The next and last Latina on the list is the Mexican immigrant Cristina Martínez, who, along with her husband Ben Miller, appears in the 87th position of the classification. The founder of the remembered South Philly Barbacoa restaurant, owner of El Compadre (in the Italian Market) is described as "a tacos genius and a champion of undocumented workers" for her work in favor of the rights of thousands of immigrants who work daily in restaurants and other sectors in conditions of vulnerability.

On the methodology to "measure influence," the media says they conducted many interviews, and talked to many people about the city's most prominent opinion leaders.

Latinos appear alongside names such as Brian Roberts, founder and board member of Foster & Partners of London - a firm of architects who designed the 1,121-foot Comcast Technology Center which will debut in Philadelphia next year; Mayor Jim Kenney; Council President Darrell Clarke; the Democrat for the Attorney General, Larry Krasner, Senator Bob Casey and other world leaders in politics, corporations, the media and the academy.

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