Walter TorresBy Jose B. Rivera
Walter Torres can be described as one of the “hearts” of East Harlem. He is active in the life of the community, cares about others and acts when he feels that action is needed.Early History
Walter Torres was born at Beth Israel Hospital in 1960 . His parents were residents of East Harlem where Walter was raised. When he was of school age, Walter attended headstart at P.S. 168 and then grammar school at PS 168 and PS 83. After grammar school he attended the prestigious Philip Andover Academy in M.A. Completing his studies at the Academy, he briefly attended Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Torres has yet to finish his college studies, but after leaving school he returned to East Harlem. Walter immediately set out in a career in community service. Walter Torres has volunteered his time to various community groups and political campaigns. In 1991 he became part of the William Perkins for City Council campaign. In 1992 he gave his time to the local School Board Elections. That year he also joined the Nelson Denis for State Assembly campaign. 1993 saw Walter with then Community Board 11 district manager Francisco Diaz, Jr. in Mr. Diaz’s city council campaign.
Walter also helped to coordinate the Dinkins campaign effort in East Harlem that year. He was the day to day coordinator of the 1994 Rangel for Reelection campaign (East Harlem sector). 1995 saw Mr. Torres championing the Jose B. Rivera for District Leader (yes me) campaign. When that effort failed, he joined Mr. Rivera in supporting Democratic District Leader candidates; Felix Rosado, Carmen Quiniones and Cedric McClester. Mr. Rosado, Ms. Quiniones and Mr. McClester won that election and Mr. Torres star has been rising ever since.
In 1996 Walter, joined the Nelson Denis for State Assembly campaign and became one of the its most active participants. He was instrumental in Mr. Denis’ win over Assemblyman Francisco Diaz, Jr. Walter made sure that all the Denis campaign posters stayed up on lamp post or were quickly replaced when needed. He also strongly advocated for Mr. Denis wherever he went.
Walter Torres has also volunteered his time to The Boys Club, located at East 111th Street between First and Second Avenues. And as a member of the People For A New East Harlem he contributed to the group with his raw honesty. In fact, Walter Torres is well known among East Harlem activist for his bluntness and passion. He is not one to pull any punches when it comes to how he sees an individual or any issue. His knowledge of world affairs is also extraordinary. He can tell you the ins and out of South African politics without hardly a moment to ponder as he recalls the facts so readily.
Mr. Torres is currently involved with the People’s Forum For Change and is a member of St. Cecilia’s Church. His goals include completing his college education, finding his soul mate and continuing his quest in the search for truth and God’s will in his life. You could say, Walter is a good Catholic. He is also a member of the board of the Neighborhood Advisory Board in Manhattan and a member of Community Board # 11.
Sports is also one of the passions which Mr. Torres enjoys and shares with others. He co-founded an East Harlem Soccer League for boys which is in its second year. He has coached youth soccer teams for over 15 years. Mr. Torres is also a cross country bicyclist enthusiast. He enjoys sharing his knowledge about this mostly European sport to anyone who will listen. He also enjoys soccer, jogging, listening to music (good rock and roll collection), salsa, stamp collecting and going to the movies. Oh, the life of a bachelor!
The East Harlem community can expect to see Mr. Torres and his brand of activist passion for some time to come. He is a catalyst among activists and not someone you wish to do battle with if you are unprepared. Walter is well loved among all who know him.