Manuel Portillo is originally from Guatemala and came to the USA as a refugee during the Central American wars of the ‘80s. Under the protection of The Sanctuary Movement, he traveled extensively speaking publicly about the atrocities being committed by the military governments of the time.
He is a former community organizer with the Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project, a grassroots organization based in Philadelphia that works with faith-based groups, where he worked on issues of public safety, education and city services.
For the last eight years Manuel was the Executive Director of Open Borders Project, a non-profit organization that provides language and technology programs to newly-arrived immigrant communities. He is currently co-director of the Philadelphia Storytelling Project.