Urgent Call for Latinx Federal Communications Commissioner and FCC Chair

Letter to President Biden Regarding FCC Seat

PDF Version

 

August 9, 2021

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
President of the United States
Office of the President

 

RE: Urgent Call for Latinx Federal Communications Commissioner and FCC Chair

 

Dear Mr. President,

 

I write to you today on behalf of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) to urge you to advance three nominee recommendations to fill the fifth and final Commissioner seat at the Federal Communication Commission (FCC): Anna Gomez, Jessica J. González, and Félix Sánchez. Earlier this year, we wrote to you to consider these three well-qualified and respected Latino candidates as FCC nominees.[1] NHMC firmly believes that these candidates have the perspectives and expertise necessary to make long lasting impacts on digital equity, and, alongside the Latino civil rights community, we strongly urge you to take action and nominate one of these exceptional Latinx candidates. In doing so, we can ensure that the Latinx community is rightfully accounted for when policies are adopted and key communication decisions are made.

In the two decades since the last Latino Commissioner, Gloria Tristani, ended her term, it has become clear that the agency lacks Latinx voices in leadership. Representation is long overdue. For years, including at present, Latinx have been left out of key civil rights conversations, despite making up nearly twenty percent of the U.S. population. This exclusion is not only unacceptable, but dangerous, especially when addressing tech, telecommunication, and media issues.

Currently, over a third of Latinx do not have access to the internet at home.[2] During the pandemic, 55 percent of Latinx were worried about being able to afford their home broadband bills. Spanish-language disinformation and hate are rapidly increasing and spreading across the country, overcrowding news sources with white-supremacy conspiracies. Issues like net neutrality and digital redlining also pose real-life threats to the Latinx community. It is so crucial that a Latinx with an understanding of these barriers is chosen to fill in the gaps at the FCC, and represent the experiences and perspectives of our community. The Latinx community is in desperate need of a seat at the table, and we call on you, Mr. President, to finally extend that invitation.

With Latinx making up one of the largest voting blocks in this country, this fifth FCC Commissioner nomination will determine the trajectory of our country’s progress. If any of these candidates are given the opportunity to sit as Commissioner or as Chair, we are confident that they will serve as the appropriate bridge between historically marginalized communities and telecommunications regulation.

 

Yours in the Movement,

 

Brenda Victoria Castillo
President & CEO
National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)

 

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[1] NHLA, NHLA Letter in Support of Félix Sánchez, (May 25, 2021),
https://www.nhmc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/NHLA_Letter-In-Support-Of-Anna-Gomez.pdf; NHLA, NHLA Letter in Support of Félix Sánchez, (March 16, 2021),
https://www.nhmc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/NHLA_Letter_in_Support_of_Felix_Sanchez_for_FCC.pdf; NHLA, NHLA Letter in Support of Jessica J. González, (December 17, 2020), https://www.nhmc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/12-17-20_NHLA_support_for_Gonzalez_for_FCC.pdf.
[2] Emily A. Vogels, et. al, 53% of Americans Say the Internet Has Been Essential During the COVID-19 Outbreak,
Pew Research (Apr. 30, 2020), https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/04/30/53-of-americans-say-the-internet-has-been-essential-during-the-co vid-19-outbreak/.

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