Luis A. Miranda's New Memoir 'Relentless' is a Case Study of Philanthropy and Politics in America

park city, utah january 21 luis a miranda, jr visits the imdb portrait studio at acura festival village on location at sundance 2023 on january 21, 2023 in park city, utah photo by corey nickolsgetty images for imdb
Luis A. Miranda Releases New MemoirCorey Nickols
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"Reading this book makes me want to work harder," Lin-Manuel Miranda writes in the foreword to his father's new autobiography, Relentless: My Story of the Latino SpiritTthat is Transforming America. The pages that follow thoroughly illustrate the Hamilton creator's point: his father, Luis A. Miranda Jr., has lived an influential life in politics, activism, and the arts that is hard to summarize. Yet, Relentless attempts to do so.

Early on, Miranda offers a peak into his early life growing up in a working-class family in Puerto Rico. "My parents were part of the civic life in our town," Miranda tells T&C. "If there was a hurricane or storm somewhere, my parents were always helping alongside the Red Cross." And, while philanthropy has always been part of his life, Miranda says his move to New York City in 1974 to study psychology at NYU was particularly life-changing.

luis miranda
Relentless author Luis Miranda and his son, Lin-Manuel, at the opening of Suffs on Broadway. Cindy Ord - Getty Images

"Coming to New York didn't change my own desire to help others and use civic organizations to help because that's something my parents always taught me," he says. "But, it changed the causes. All of a sudden, we were in a place with minority groups fighting for basic needs and communities. My life changed drastically when I moved to New York. My wife and I are doing the same things my parents did, just working with different institutions."

Since this awakening to the immigrant experience in the United States, Miranda thrust himself into public and political service. He served as the advisor for Hispanic Affairs to Mayor Ed Koch and was a consultant to the David Dinkins administration. Miranda served as a political consultant on campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Senator Chuck Schumer. He was also the founder and first president of the Hispanic Federation, a non-profit that supports the Hispanic community and Latino institutions through work in education, health, immigration, civic engagements, and more. Get the point? "He's able to see the collective impact. How do we address food insecurity, how do we address poverty long term?" José Calderón, the current President of the Hispanic Federation, tells T&C. "Of course, he has a unique personality, but he also has a unique ability to see 10 or 15 steps down the road."

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Luis Miranda and Luz Towns Miranda in May 2024 at New York City’s 92nd Street Y. Luis’s memoir, Relentless, is on sale now.Manny Carabel - Getty Images

Miranda also has a secret weapon that captivates audiences and gets people to rally around his causes: art and culture. In Relentless, Miranda points out several moments that defined his interest in the arts. He mentions how he watched the Sound of Music 80 times growing up, and how seeing The Unsinkable Molly Brown was "transformative." In fact, Miranda shares that seeing West Side Story motivated him to leave Puerto Rico. "When Tony is Killed and Maria starts crying," he writes, "my heart was in pieces."

"I eat salad to be healthy, but I consume art to feed the soul," he says. "There is that part of us that is not necessarily physical, but key to who we are. Could you imagine the pandemic months without the arts? Without people going out and singing on their balconies? Without online media sharing videos of people painting and dancing? There is plenty of talent in minority communities and we need to provide resources to that talent."

lin manuel miranda top left stands behind his wife vanessa nadal in the middle are his parents, luis and luz, and to the right is his sister luz with her husband luis crespo photographed for town country by max vadukul, junejuly 2018
Luis Miranda, top center, photographed with his family for Town & Country in 2018.Max Vadukul

An example of how Miranda has married the worlds of art and philanthropy could be seen in 2017, after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Miranda and his son took Hamilton to the island and helped raise $15 million benefitting existing human-aid organizations, such as the Flamboyant Arts Fund.

"Luis has a relentless focus on uplifting Latin voices in America, and he knows the arts make that possible," Oskar Eustis, the artistic director at the Public Theater in New York City, where Miranda serves as the board's chair, tells T&C. " Power may require politics—but making people central to the story of America is what really changes the world.”

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Relentless: My Story of the Latino Spirit That Is Transforming America</p><p></p>

So, why release this Relentless now? "Because it's an election year," Miranda says. "And, the Latino voter has never been more important than it is now. A lot will be said about the Latino vote, and I have something to say on the matter. It is something that I have done for the last 45 years of my life: to create community, and to work in making sure Latinos from various nationalities can work together. It's the perfect moment to do it."

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