Sunset Park native J.W. Cortés honored by NFL and Jets with Hispanic Heritage Award


Sunset native J.W. Cortés has been selected by the New York Jets as the recipient of the NFL Hispanic Heritage Award, picking up the award at MetLife Stadium during the Jets’s game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, October 2.

Cortés, a Marine combat veteran and former police officer, who is currently an actor, singer and activist, received the honor due to his work in the military, and his current artistic career.

“J.W. Cortés has been instrumental in our community raising awareness for several great causes and supporting those in need,” said Jesse Linder, Jets director of community relations. “His continuous efforts coupled with his exceptional leadership qualities made for an easy decision to honor him as the recipient of the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award.”

For the Sunset Parker, the honor meant a lot. “They heard about my work with the veterans’ community and saw that I’m an actor on ‘Gotham’ and was in the Marine Corps and asked me if I would consider it,” he said. “It made me feel incredibly honored. I’ve had a fortunate life and I’m humbled.”

Throughout his life, Cortés has received many awards, but this one is perhaps the highlight of his rising career, he said, explaining, “This ranks right up at the very top because it isn’t about me, it’s about the work we are doing to impact lives and be an example of those who haven’t given up. “

In addition, Cortés was given the opportunity to select an organization that served the local Hispanic community to receive $2,000. The former cop chose the Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation, named after the NYPD detective who was shot and killed in the line of duty in Brooklyn in 2014.

“I’m really excited [about the foundation]. I reached out to the Ramos family because I wanted to get their blessing,” he said, adding that the parallels between their lives were too difficult to ignore. “He was from Sunset and was a detective.  I was a cop and from Sunset. We both went to Dewey M.S. 136, There were too many coincidences not to consider the foundation. I know that this isn’t about me. It’s about them.”

The Ramos family joined Cortés and his family during the award ceremony. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with Detective Ramos’ family,” Cortés said. “It’s the best part. To have my children there, my truly amazing wife, and to have Maritza and Jayden Ramos there, I’m moved to tears just talking about it. His family is a reminder to all of us that every day is a blessing not taken for granted.”

The timing of this year’s election also made the day important to Cortés. “Given this highly charged political season, I’d like to remind people that Latinos have been here in this country, will stay here and have earned the right, through blood, sweat and tears, to be called Americans,” he said.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.