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Profiles in Goodwill: Miguel De La Torre

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Miguel A. De La Torre is professor of social ethics and Latinx studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver.

  • Where did you grow up?

My family moved to Hell’s Kitchen as refugees and lived in a four-story tenement building (with one shared bathroom per floor).

When I was about 3, we moved to a poor ghetto in Queens, one block from the landing strip of LaGuardia. By the time I hit 6, we moved again to Jackson Heights, the first Latinx family in an Irish/Italian neighborhood where my father was the superintendent of a six-story building.

  • What is your favorite verse, book or story in the Bible? Why?

Genesis 2:25: “The man and his [significant other] were both naked and felt no shame.”

This is the ideal relationship, where I can stand before my beloved emotionally, physiologically and physically (in spite of gravity and the consequences of one too many desserts) and yet neither be embarrassed nor ashamed.

  • What is your favorite movie? Why?

Trails of Hope and Terror.”

The film deals with the current immigration crisis explaining why it exists and how we as a nation arrived at this point. What makes this film my “favorite” is because my son, Vincent, shot and edited the footage, my wife produced the film, and I wrote the screenplay.

  • Who are three people you admire?

José Martí (1853-95), known throughout all of Latin America as the premier thinker, inventor of modernismo, diplomat, journalist, playwright, poet, novelist, organizer of the Cuban War for Independence and martyr; Mirta De La Torre (1934-2005), my mother; Deborah De La Torre, my wife who is a Latinx jazz composer and performer.

  • What is one little-known fact about yourself?

While some might know I published some 35 books and hundreds of articles and book chapters, few know I typed them all with one finger because I never learned how to type.