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Dr. Jose R. Torradas (Courtesy Photo)/Dr. Carmen Febo San Miguel (Photo: AL DÍA Archives)/Carlos José Pérez Sámano (Photo: Penn Museum).
Dr. Jose R. Torradas (Courtesy Photo)/Dr. Carmen Febo San Miguel (Photo: AL DÍA Archives)/Carlos José Pérez Sámano (Photo: Penn Museum).

Three leaders to be honored during the 2022 Philadelphia Latin American Book Fair

The inaugural ceremony as part of the 4th annual event will see notable Latino leaders receive recognition for their contributions in their respective fields.

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During the 4th annual Latin American Book Fair (LABF) on Friday, three new awards will be presented to a trio of notable leaders in Philadelphia’s Latino community. 

Dr. José R. Torradas will be honored with the Community Hero Award; Carlos José Pérez Sámano will be honored as the Author of the Year Award; and Carmen Febo San Miguel will be the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Each award honors the rich history, as well as the innumerable contributions, Latino leaders have made and continues to make to the Philadelphia community. 

For these three, while in different fields, their impacts have gone a long way toward benefiting Philadelphia's diverse Latino community. 

Meet the three inaugural LABF Award Honorees.

Community Hero Award Honoree: Dr. José R. Torradas

Dr. José R. Torradas is a board-certified emergency physician who specializes in the resuscitation of critically ill patients. During his career, he has worked in both small and large emergency rooms across the United States, caring for patients across the entire gender, racial, and socioeconomic spectrum. 

Passionate about medical education for both English and Spanish speaking audiences, Dr. Torradas has strived to help empower others to better navigate their own patient experiences. 

That passion has driven him to become quite the leader in the Philadelphia community.

Since 2014, he has been a leading Spanish media spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

He also serves as the Medical Director for Medicos Unidos Inc., a non-profit founded by Hispanic medical professionals. During the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Torradas was one of a number of Hispanic medical professionals who came together to found Unidos Contra COVID, a grassroots collaborative organization aimed at supporting Philadelphia's community vaccination efforts in Hispanic communities. 

Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree: Carmen Febo San Miguel

Carmen Febo San Miguel is known as the long-time former executive director of Taller Puertorriqueño

She spent 22 years at the helm of Taller — the largest Puerto Rican and Latinx arts organization in the state. She began her tenure in 1999 after serving 14 years as its board chair, and retired from the organization in 2021. 

Throughout her tenure, San Miguel made quite the impact, as Taller grew from a small organization to one that successfully completed a capital campaign and construction of new headquarters, an $11.5 million state-of-the-art El Corazón Cultural Center, with a budget of over $1 million and a growing permanent staff of 15 individuals. 

San Miguel is a native of Puerto Rico, where she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Puerto Rico, before going on to earn her medical degree from the same university. 

She moved to Philadelphia for her residency in Family Practice at Hahnemann Hospital and Medical Center in 1974, where she served as Medical Director of the Spring Garden Family Health Services Center, primarily serving under-resourced and economically disadvantaged Puerto Rican and African American communities. 

In 1979, she moved back to Puerto Rico to work at the Naranjito Health Center, serving a rural population for five years before returning to Philadelphia in 1984, assuming the position of Medical Director of Germantown Family Medicine Associates and managing all aspects of private medical practice.

San Miguel maintained her medical practice until her retirement from the Maria de Los Santos Health Center in 2014.

Author of the Year Award Honoree: Carlos José Pérez Sámano

Carlos José Pérez Sámano is an international author and poet from Mexico with more than a dozen publications. His work has been featured in anthologies in Argentina, Spain, the United States, Italy, Spain, and India. 

Among his best known works include, Ella decía ser mi esposa, Cuentos desde Aquí and Africa Sueño de Sombras Largas.

In 2021, Pérez Sámano became the first artist-in-residence for the University of Pennsylvania Museum, striving to help create opportunities for Spanish-speaking immigrants to tell their own personal stories. 

It was a natural transition for him, given his time teaching poetry to the immigrant community in Philadelphia. 

He was also awarded last year with the Everyday Genius award for his contribution to the Latino immigrant community in Philadelphia.

He earned a Master of Arts degree in Publishing and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Rosemont College.

Pérez Sámano is currently working on an opera about decolonization with the Opera Orchestra National of Montpellier in France. 

Launched in 2019, the Latin American Book Fair is a free annual event that gathers readers of all ages, authors, writers, illustrators, designers, and the Philadelphia community to celebrate the Latino heritage, language, and culture. 

The event will feature storytelling, book releases, music, and artistic performances, with the main goal to promote the reading culture in the community and encourage writers to present their work. 

The 4th annual Latin American Book Fair is set to take place Friday, September 23 at LOVE Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, click here

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