Face to Face with William Cartagena, Member of the Latino Advisory Committee of the City of Philadelphia


Philadelphia, PA: William Cartagena, a prominent Latino leader in this city, cancer survivor, exemplary father, husband, and friend, has dedicated his life to community service since childhood. His calling has led him to fulfill various roles, and he recently sat down for an interview with El Faro Latino newspaper, a publication founded in this city on June 28, 2004.

From a young age, Cartagena began serving various community organizations while in school, cultivating a deep commitment to helping others.

– A graduate in psychology, William Cartagena served as Director of the Francis House Federal Media Center in Philadelphia in 1993.
– In 1995, he led the «Homeless Knights» institution.
– From 1999 to 2002, he was Director of Latino Community Services in the office of Senator W. Curtis Thomas.
– Between 2003 and 2009, he worked as an Investigator of Abused Children.
– In 2009-2010, he held the position of Director of Human Services at Norris Square.
– From 2016 to 2024, Cartagena served as Director of Psychology Services for children, adults, and families at Pan American Mental Health Services. He recently resigned to accept a position offered by Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker as a government liaison and member of the Latino Advisory Committee.

About Mayor Cherelle Parker

When asked about Mayor Cherelle Parker, Cartagena praised her extensive tenure in the Philadelphia City Council and highlighted her focus on addressing the city’s persistent issues since taking office. «The change is evident everywhere. Since she arrived at City Hall, she has addressed the historic neglect of North Philadelphia, where much of our Latino community resides, integrating diverse communities into her administration with great success,» commented Cartagena.

Children and Wife

«How many children do you have, and who is your wife?»
«I’m usually quite reserved about my personal and family life, but I won’t be able to avoid it with you. I have 3 children: Francisco, William Jr., and Erasmo Cartagena. I have been married to Mayerlin Santana Cartagena since 2022. Although we have very different interests — mine in politics and community, and hers in her private business and privacy — we strengthen each other with respect,» Cartagena revealed.

Cancer Survivor

Touching on personal matters during the interview, William Cartagena initially showed reservations but eventually shared:
«Are you a cancer survivor?»
«I didn’t expect that question, but yes, I was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 2020. It was a complicated process. I was in a coma for 18 days, and I confess that only my deep faith in God saved me from this illness. It was truly a miracle,» Cartagena confessed emotionally.

Candidate for State Representative for District 180

In 2006, Cartagena was persuaded by Democratic Party leaders in Philadelphia to run as a candidate for State Representative for District 180. Despite a brilliant campaign, he still needs to obtain the position.

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