The following is a roadmap that we envision as the tenets of the NHMC policy agenda heading into 2023 – outlining the pillars of our policy priorities, creating a springboard for coverage and action around the new year, then building upon those pillars with new thinking to move our policy agenda forward over the next year.
Our 2023 theme is “We are the rule, not the exception” – moving past Latino representation as a “trendy” topic, in both politics and media, and part of the framework of major organizations around the country. Companies and organizations continue to approach Latino inclusion as an option, or even a luxury – and when faced with economic uncertainty, programs and initiatives promising inclusion and diversity are the first to go.
We want to be in every space, advocating that Latino representation should always be considered, not just when it is fashionable.
OVERARCHING PILLARS & VISION
As we seek to execute the plan below, we want to have guiding principles or “pillars” that help couch our work over the next year and distill our messaging to external parties – from press, to executive leadership, to political influencers and beyond.
As a civil rights organization at our core, we envision three pillars – drilled down into several words – for the NHMC that encompass the umbrella of our work. From there, each of our policy priorities will fall under these buckets.
Equity and Access
In order to achieve true equity, we must identify and eliminate the barriers to access that plague Latino communities – not only addressing entertainment and media, but also concerning politics, the power of the vote, and broadband access as well. We want a society that is accessible for all, particularly the Latino community.
When there is an issue that jeopardizes the integrity, privacy, or wellbeing of our communities, continuing to hold our leaders accountable in every field that we touch – from keeping our elected officials accountable to their constituents, to government agencies, and corporate America.
Leadership to Ownership
We envision leadership to ownership as an overarching phrase involving promoting anything that could uplift our community to create lasting impact – from efforts around increasing Latino leadership in Congress, to owning studios that create our content, to writers “leading” and “owning” their content that accurately depicts our communities. The idea is that the more leaders we encourage, the more owners will eventually exist, from homeowners, to the entertainment industry, to the White House – and that is what encourages impactful social change across the board.
OUR 2023 POLICY PRIORITIES
Equity & Access
Over a third of the Latino population does not have access to the internet at home. This means that one in three Latinos cannot reliably access online education, remote work, or the digital economy. Our community and all those who have been historically and intentionally marginalized must not continue to be forgotten or pushed to the side as we move toward an increasingly digital world. This is why NHMC believes achieving digital equity—including closing the Latino digital divide—is one of the greatest civil rights challenges of our time. NHMC and our allies in community-based organizations, nonprofits, and all levels of government have consistently raised awareness of the digital divide, and advocated for programs, like the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Yet, there is still more work to be done for our community and all those with lower access to broadband.
This work begins with ensuring that lawmakers and internet service providers acknowledge and commit to dismantling the digital discrimination that historically and internationally marginalized groups face. For too long Latino communities and many low income communities of color have faced barriers to accessing the internet, often facing the slowest internet speeds at the highest prices if at all. In 2023, NHMC’s digital equity policy work will prioritize sustainable and meaningful assistance for historically and intentionally marginalized communities, as well as continuing to build momentum in holding Internet Service Providers and bad actors accountable for discrimination.
In particular, in 2023, NHMC will:
Net neutrality is essential to accomplish these goals and ensure that individuals are not limited in their use and scope of internet access and information use. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all content flowing through their networks equally, and they should not have control over what consumers can access. With the advancement of technology and the widespread use of media to inform populations of global issues, it is imperative that the Latino community is not vulnerable to censorship, blocking, or discrimination. Echoing our theme, “We are the rule, not the exception,” NHMC believes the internet should be open and accessible, providing the Latino community equal access to the internet to promote educational and economic opportunities to excel in this new digital age. NHMC envisions an internet ecosystem where our community feels safe from harm and discrimination.
Protecting net neutrality also protects marginalized communities from the monopolization of the internet and socioeconomic disparities. Corporations are motivated by profit, and if they control the internet, they will prioritize broadcasting corporate agendas rather than offer marginalized businesses, influencers, and educators the opportunity to share information and spread awareness of what is happening worldwide. NHMC will continue to advocate for legislation that protects historically and intentionally marginalized communities, and bring awareness to the injustices that arise without net neutrality.
In 2023, NHMC will:
For over a decade, NHMC has stood against all forms of hate and exploitation targeting historically and intentionally marginalized communities. Unfortunately, in today’s digital society, social media platforms have facilitated new methods of spreading this hate that result in real-world tragedies and record profits. NHMC has not forgotten The Pulse Nightclub Shooting in 2016, the Charlottesville Hate Rally in 2017, the El Paso Massacre and the Christchurch Massacre in 2019, the January 6th Insurrection of 2021, and the Colorado Springs Shooting in 2022. Each of these acts of violence can be tied to radicalization, extremist ideologies, disinformation, and white supremacy that are spread unchecked on social media platforms.
As these acts of violence prove, media platforms, like Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter do not prioritize the safety and well-being of the public or the Latino community. Instead, social media platforms are allowing users to spread hate and disinformation and while they profit off of it, using their algorithms to amplify harmful content simply because it increases engagement and allows them to sell more advertisements. Although these platforms continuously assure the public that they moderate their content for hate speech and lies, NHMC and allies have seen little to no effort to uphold these promises. Recent events at Twitter, including the reinstatement of users who spew hate and disinformation, have confirmed this. NHMC remains dedicated to holding Twitter and all media platforms accountable and underscores that they cannot continue to prioritize profit and personal agendas at the expense of human lives.
This accountability is especially significant ahead of the 2024 Presidential Elections. In the 2022 Midterm Elections, NHMC was encouraged by the fact that the people overwhelmingly voted against candidates running on platforms of hate, despite the continued circulation of disinformation and hate speech across many different platforms. However, it is highly concerning that certain groups and individuals on social media continue to target Latino communities with Spanish- and English-language disinformation, especially about the LGBTQ+ community. NHMC is committed to addressing these issues and their dangerous impacts to protect the democracy of the United States of America.
NHMC also leads allies in combating disinformation through the Spanish Language Disinformation Coalition (SLDC). Originally created in response to Facebook’s abysmal Spanish-language content moderation, which allowed disinformation to spread unchecked, the SLDC has since kept pressure on all social media platforms to ensure that they are held accountable for their harmful policies and practices. In 2023, NHMC will continue to engage the coalition in meaningful advocacy work to ensure that all media platforms take Spanish-language disinformation seriously and implement policies and practices that protect and uplift our communities.
In particular, in 2023, NHMC will:
NHMC believes we must hold tech platforms accountable for treating Latinos’ data with a duty of care. Online data collection (and the assumptions and targeting that follow it) escalates and empowers the longstanding discrimination Latinos face. Our community spends more time on social media than the general public, making us more susceptible to harmful data practices by social media platforms, third-party companies, and government agencies. Latinos often consent to data collection without fully knowing what data is being collected or how it is being used. The lack of language accessibility, simple vocabulary, and explicit terms facilitates this exploitation of our user data. This data is then sold to the highest bidder, creating an opportunity for targeted disinformation or discriminatory surveillance.
Latinos’ online data has historically been used to discriminate against our community. For example, ICE has previously used Facebook data to track, locate, and deport undocumented immigrants, approximately half of whom were from Mexico and other Latin American countries. Social media platforms and online companies have allowed this injustice to happen by collaborating with government agencies to target immigrant and underprivileged communities. Excessive data collection allows for more violence against our community and presents an undue threat to undocumented immigrants. With the already rampant prejudice facing Latinos in this country, the unregulated encroachment of Latinos’ data privacy incites more fear in our community.
Data is the new currency in an evolving digital world, and excluding Latinos from the decision-making around their personal data limits their prosperity. To ensure that Latinos always have full control over their data, NHMC will continue to call for easy-to-understand privacy policies, transparency from organizations and companies that harvest and profit off Latinos’ data, and increased data collection regulations.
In 2023, NHMC will:
Leadership to Ownership
Latino Representation in Leadership
For nearly 40 years, NHMC has worked diligently to promote and sustain Latino representation among leadership positions across all sectors, from Hollywood to Washington D.C. This work is essential as Latinos account for nearly 20% of the U.S. population but are significantly underrepresented throughout organizational charts, mainly among executive-level positions. In 2021, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on workforce diversity, specifically highlighting data on the underrepresentation of Latino people in the media industry. Across various roles, from directors to editors, 12% identified as Latino, with an additional 4% in industry management. Within this small percentage, even fewer are represented by Latinas. The GAO also noted that the population of Latinos in the media industry has only increased by 1% from 2010 to 2019.
These numbers are concerning, and the lack of representation further perpetuates misconceptions of the Latino narrative in front of and behind the camera, as well as stagnation in socioeconomic mobility for the Latino community. Representation is essential, and in light of our 2023 theme, “We are the Rule, not the exception,” we recognize and embrace the qualifications and excellence of the Latino community in all sectors–not just occasionally, but consistently. Companies should ensure there is always a seat at the table for our community, and should always continue to uplift emerging Latino leaders of tomorrow.
As a Latina-led organization, NHMC will continue to work towards empowering and promoting Latina representation in leadership positions. We will support and motivate other organizations to hire more Latinas to join their team, from executives to board members. This will not only promote diversity in representation, but diversity in thought and perspective, which is valuable for organizations to recognize the issues and consumer experience of the largest minority group in the U.S. We will also work towards further supporting Latinas in politics as Latinos will make up over 10% of the House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. NHMC will also work to highlight a highly qualified Latino candidate for the Biden-Harris administration to fill the fifth seat in the Federal Communications Commission. We recognize the steady increase of Latino leadership across the country, and are eager to further contribute to the movement.
In 2023, NHMC will:
Bridging the disconnect between the depth of the Latino population and meaningful representation continues to be a priority for NHMC in 2023. NHMC believes that tolerance, acceptance, and favor for our community begin with how the world sees and understands us. Our portrayal in the media and its perpetuation of harmful stereotypes are directly tied to the hate that Latinos encounter in real life.
It is NHMC’s mission to increase the accurate representation of Latinos in all forms of media, including television, film, and literature. Meaningful representation in media and leadership positions opens avenues for Latinos to elevate the well-being of our community. NHMC will continue to challenge industries to uplift Latino leadership and assist in developing our community.
For too long, media companies have treated Latino representation as an afterthought, reducing Latinos to token characters and demeaning storylines. To combat this, fair and equitable Latino representation in the media workforce is crucial, but despite the Latino community being nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population, we make up only 12 percent of the media workforce, according to a GAO study. Twenty-two percent of those Latinos working in the media sector are in service positions. Even though the majority of media companies reside in California where Latinos are over 40 percent of the population, executives continue to devalue Latino talent.
NHMC has helped uplift Latino creators through its Series Scriptwriters Program and Latinx Stream Showcase, providing Latinos with an opportunity to display their abilities. To take the next step in our fight for increased representation, NHMC has begun establishing a publishing coalition to combat the rampant underrepresentation of Latinos in the literary industry. The two fold problem is the low number of Latino authors published yearly and the lack of Latinos in positions that greenlight decisions. Latinos are approximately 6% of the overall publishing industry and only 3% of executive positions. This lack of representation enables inaccurate story publishing that is discriminatory and detrimental to our community. NHMC knows that the increased representation of the Latino community in all areas of the media industry is the key to achieving adequate, authentic representation across industries and fields.
In 2023, NHMC will: