Fairhill: Giving Residents a Bilingual Voice

Puertorriqueno Executive Director Carmen Miguel introduced the monthly author series.

Each month Taller Puertorriqueno brings in an author with some link to the Latin American community to discuss their work or topics relevant to their work as part of their meet the author series. These authors come from any number of places in Latin America and the United States.

However, this month’s presentation had a youthful and local flavor to it as the participants were writers and contributors for Motivos Magazine, a bilingual youth magazine published right here in Philadelphia.

Led by founder and publisher Jenee Chizick, some of the writers, artists, poets, interns and other contributors spoke about their experiences contributing and being involved with the magazine and how it has affected them.

“This was good for us working for Motivos because we immersed ourselves in the Hispanic Latino community,” said Ben Schreiber, a senior at Pennsbury High School and contributing writer for Motivos.

Schreiber is just one of many young writers who use Motivos as an outlet for expression, in fact, most of the writers on hand were high school age, some even younger.

In addition to being a format for cultural expression, Motivos also provides guidance for teens and young adults in the way of college preparation advice as well as career inspiration and motivation.

Chizick noted this as one of her main motivations for starting the magazine, referencing a story about a friend’s nephew who thought he couldn’t go to college because he wasn’t officially a resident. As it turns out he was able to. This helped spawn the idea for Motivos because Chizick wanted to get this type of information out to others.

“I thought, wow, how many other kids are there out there that don’t have an aunt that knows that?” Chizick said. “I started looking into it and there were 65,000 a year that graduate from high school that are in the same situation.”

Motivos has been around for five years now publishing four issues each year and has been featured at Taller Puertorriqueno for the past three years, said Carmen Miguel, executive director of Taller Puertorriqueno.

“One of our primary responsibilities is to provide a venue and an opening for all kinds of voices that have limited access to be heard,” Miguel said. “It’s so important that the beautiful work that Motivos is doing is presented to our community.”

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