Lower East Side Community Hero
Nominated by Deb Scher, Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center
photo by Whitney Browne
Jose Ortiz is a volunteer at Senior Advocacy Leadership Team (SALT) at Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center.
Jose Ortiz has been living on the Lower East Side for over 30 years. A Vietnam veteran and former linguistics teacher, Jose is spending his retired life actively working to make the Lower East Side an Age-Friendly community by volunteering with the Senior Advocacy Leadership Team (SALT) at Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center. Jose has become the defacto leader of this self-directed group that supports the needs of seniors on the Lower East Side and within the broader community. He advocates for issues ranging from affordable housing to public safety to transportation, and social service access related to seniors evolving health needs. Jose and SALT are committed to changing the way people view older adults. They want their voices to be heard, to be partners in discussing the issues our communities care about, and to help people understand that this aging population has a lot of knowledge and activism in them, and they will not be ignored.