October 2014

In this edition of NHMC Updates

  • Mourning the Loss of Actress Elizabeth Peña
  • FCC Takes Positive Step on Unfair Prison Phone Rates
  • Where to Watch Latinos on TV This Fall
  • NHMC Another Step Closer to Bringing Low Power Radio Station to the Los Angeles Area
  • NHMC Welcomes New Policy Counsel to the Team
  • Media/Telecommunications Policy Shop Update
  • Advocating to Protect the Internet as a Level-Playing Field
News Briefs: Advocating for Latinos in Media 
  • National Latino theater festival Encuentro 2014 has brought together 19 theater companies, 150 artists from throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and 17 works that explore the Latina/o experience — including themes like family, relationships, immigration, and violence at the border. The month-long event runs until November 10 in Los Angeles. For schedule and ticket information, visit: thelatc.org/encuentro2014/. Read more about it in the Los Angeles TimesHollywood Reporter, and the LA Weekly.
  • In a Univision.com column, NHMC president and CEO Alex Nogales writes about the importance of increasing home broadband access to Latinos to close the digital divide. “At a time when most teachers assign homework that requires Internet access, and use technology to teach in the classroom, only half of our Latino children have the basic tools to achieve academic success,” he writes in the piece. Read the piece in English on our blog or click here for the original version in Spanish.
  • The Hollywood Reporter released its Top 25 Latinos in Entertainment list, which included Jennifer Lopez, CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler, Jorge Ramos,  Pitbull, and more. See the entire list here.
NHMC Media/Telecommunications Policy Shop Update Halloween in DC can be a little spooky. But luckily, while combating some nasty “tricks,” the NHMC policy shop has also had a few “treats” to savor. policyupdateFirst, the best “treat” of all – a new addition to the policy shop! NHMC DC is looking forward to having Liz Ruiz join the team to help us take on the important media and telecom issues of the day. You can read more about her here.prison

Lowering Predatory Prison Phone Rates Another “treat” has been the FCC’s continued leadership on an issue that impacts far too many families in this nation: exorbitant phone rates when trying to connect with incarcerated family members. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, in particular, with the support of Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Rosenworcel, has been a champion on this issue stating, “If ever there were a time to stand up for fundamental fairness, this is it.”

For decades, due to a series of kick backs and outrageous costs, the phone rates charged to families of the incarcerated have been egregiously high — up to almost $20 for one 15 minute call, or almost $3,000 for one call a week over the course of a year. Last year, Commissioner Clyburn, in her role as Acting Chair, took steps to cap the exorbitant rates charged for certain calls, among other things. The result? Certain call volumes have increased by up to 300 percent — keeping families connected to loved ones and preparing inmates for life outside of prison. Just this month, the FCC moved forward on further action to finish the job. Kudos to Commissioner Clyburn and the FCC for taking on this important issue.

Protecting An Open Internet In the “trick” category, an FCC proposal that would allow Internet fast lanes for those who can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else, still appears to be on the table. NHMC and its allies have urged the FCC to treat Internet Service Providers as common carriers and prevent blocking, discrimination, and paid fast lanes online. NHMC et al. also urged the FCC to issue the same protections to consumers, regardless of whether they access the Internet from a home computer or a mobile device.

For a “treat,” NHMC made the trek from DC up to Brooklyn, NY, to hear from the community about why the Open Internet matters. During the well-attended field hearing, which was visited by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, dozens of people spoke out on the importance of keeping the Internet open and free of corporate control. NHMC offered testimony along with many others. While, disappointingly, no FCC Commissioners accepted an invitation to attend, the palpable passion that could be felt in the room will certainly inform the future of this battle.

Time is running out to make your voice heard on this important issue! The FCC could decide the future of the Internet before the end of this year. To share with the FCC why an Open Internet devoid of discrimination is important to you, click here. For more information, visit www.nhmc.org/openinternet.

The Lifeline Program
And for another “treat,” NHMC’s own Jessica J. González will join FCC Commissioner Clyburn and others to discuss the future of the Lifeline Program. At the November 12 event, which will be hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, Commissioner Clyburn will address the issue of reforming the Lifeline Program for the broadband era. After the Commissioner’s remarks, Jessica will join a panel of experts to provide insights into the future of the program. More information about the event is available here.

NHMC has long-defended this critical program designed to keep poor individuals and families connected to basic communications services, and we feel that it is time to update the program to fully support broadband connections.

Where to Watch Latinos in TV in Fall 2014 Every year, we get more Latinos both in front and back of camera, and though the road ahead to full inclusion and fair and accurate portrayals is a long one still, this is something worth recognizing. Here is a list of some of this Fall’s shows featuring Latinos both on-screen and behind the camera. See more on our blog.

New Shows:
  • Cristela (ABC) – Breakout comedienne Cristela Alonzo  stars as a woman laughing her way to the new American dream in a family comedy loosely based on her life and stand-up routine — and she’s also the show’s creator, co-executive producer and writer. NHMC TV Writers Program alum Emilia Serrano is a story editor on the show. Series airs Fridays at 8:30pm/7:30pm central. Follow the show on Facebook, on Twitter @CristelaABC, and Instagram @CristelaABC, using the hashtag #Cristela.
  • Jane the Virgin (CW) – Actress Gina Rodriguez stars as the lead and title character, Jane Villanueva, who becomes accidentally inseminated with her boss’s frozen sperm when he was diagnosed with cancer. Series airs Mondays at 9/8pm central. Follow the show on Facebook, and on Twitter @CWJaneTheVirgin, using the hashtag #JaneTheVirgin.
  • Red Band Society (Fox) – The medical drama follows a group of children and teenagers living in the pediatrics wing of a Los Angeles hospital, and features actors Wilson Cruz and Nolan Sotillo. The show’s executive story editor is NHMC TV Writers Program alum Rob SudduthThe series airs Wednesdays at 9/8pm central. Follow the show on Facebook, and on Twitter @RedBandSociety, using the hashtag #RedBandSociety.
  • State of Affairs (NBC) – Katherine Heigl stars as the President’s daily CIA briefer. NHMC TV Writers program alum Michael Perri is a staff writer on the show. Series airs Mondays at 10/9pm central. Follow the show on Facebook, and on Twitter @NBCStateAffairs, using the hashtag #Stateofaffairs.
  • Gracepoint (Fox) – The crime drama series follows the police investigation of the murder of young Danny Solano. Michael Peña stars as the murdered young boy’s father. The series airs Thursdays at 9/8pm central. Follow the show on Facebook, and on Twitter @GracepointFOX, using the hashtag #gracepoint.
Returning Shows
  • Brooklyn Nine Nine (Fox) – Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz play detectives in this action comedy television series set in the fictional 99th Precinct of the New York City Police Department in Brooklyn. Series airs Sundays at 8:30/7:30pm central. Follow the show on Facebook, and on Twitter @Brooklyn99FOX, using the hashtag #brooklyn99. 
  • Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – Sara Ramirez plays Dr. Callie Torres in this long-running medical drama television series. Series airs Thursdays at 8/7pm central. Follow the show on Facebook,  Twitter @GreysABC, using the hashtag #ShondalandRevealed.
  • Once Upon a Time (ABC) – Lana Parrilla stars as the Evil Queen in this fairy tale drama series.Series airs Sundays at 8/7 pm central. Follow the show on Facebook, and on Twitter @OnceABC, using the hashtag #OnceUponATime. 
  • Grimm (NBC) – Norberto Barba returns as executive producer on this police procedural fantasy television drama for another year. Series airs Fridays at 9/8 pm central. Follow the show on Facebook, and on Twitter @NBCGrimm, using the hashtag #Grimm.
NHMC Another Step Closer to Bringing Low Power Radio Station to the Los Angeles Area
In October, NHMC submitted another round of documents to the FCC in pursuit of a low power FM radio station. NHMC has teamed up with other Los Angeles-based non-profit organizations to serve the diverse needs of those in the country’s second-largest media market. NHMC’s partners include Ballet Folklorico Ollin, the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory, the Los Angeles Academy of Arts & Enterprise, the Emperor’s Circle of Shen Yun, Prism Church and Catalyst Long Beach. NHMC is very excited about the incredible public interest benefits this collaboration of diverse organizations could have for the Los Angeles media market, and anxiously awaits FCC decision on its application. Once live, NHMC intends to stream and archive content online for a global audience.
NHMC worked with a coalition of organizations headed by the Prometheus Radio Project, to ardently support the expansion of low power FM (LPFM) radio throughout the country. The FCC launched the low power FM service in 2000, creating the first opportunity for community radio broadcasting in more than 20 years. As traditional broadcast stations have expensive barriers to entry, LPFM stations are more affordable and provide an excellent way for Latinos and other people of color to be heard over the airwaves. Remembering Talented Actress Elizabeth Peña We mourn the loss and celebrate the memory of talented Cuban-American actress Elizabeth Peña, who we honored in 2000 for her outstanding achievements that paved the way for Latinos in Hollywood. Our thoughts are with her loved ones.

Veteran media activist and longtime NHMC board member Marta García shared a few words about the passing of her dear friend:

“Elizabeth was one of the most loyal friends anyone could have. She would call her long-time friend and acting buddy Nelson Landrieu (my husband) in the middle of the night (East coast time!) and they would chat for hours, catching up on New York gossip and their personal lives. She lent an ear to old pals, caring for their problems, despite struggling with her own. In our household her past midnight calls will be missed, as will her contagious laughter. We have lost a faithful friend who never forgot to check-in on her old buddies.”

Elizabeth will be deeply missed.

NHMC Television Writers Program Congratulations to the newest graduates of the NHMC Television Writers Program! The writers are: LauraAlexander, Sabrina Almeida, Jake Brooks, Alexander Felix, Zayre Ferrer, Valen Hernandez, Frank Nestor, Edlin Ortiz, Daniel Perez, Jorge C. Perez, and Claudia RestrepoRead from one of this year’s writers about his NHMC TV Writers Program experience here.

The 2015 NHMC Television Writers Program submission period will open in April 2015.

In the meantime, read more about our alumni’s experience in the writers room: Emmylou Diaz (2013) is a writers assistant in the new CW dramedy Jane the Virgin. Read more about her by visiting our blog.   NHMC Welcomes Policy Counsel to the Team NHMC recently welcomed Elizabeth (Liz) Ruiz to its team as the new Policy Counsel. Liz will work closely with NHMC’s DC-Based Policy Director to advance NHMC’s agenda. Liz had worked previously with NHMC as an intern for its Policy Fellowship Program in 2011. Because of her past job experiences, Elizabeth already has a great grasp on many of NHMC’s issues. She has assisted with Universal Service Fund reform, advocated for cell phone manufacturers to develop more handsets for people with hearing impairments, fought against a broadcast television station’s license renewal where the station failed to adequately serve the public interest, and participated in the battle against AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile. Liz, welcome to the NHMC familia! Julissa Marenco Joins FCC’s Media Bureau NHMC ally and friend Julissa Marenco, formerly with ZGS Communications, has joined the FCC’s Media Bureau as an Assistant Bureau Chief. Julissa will work on broadcaster issues related to media ownership, the incentive auction, and other matters. NHMC wishes you the best in your new endeavor, Julissa! Congratulations! Pasadena Latino Coalition Hosted Town Hall for State of Latinos in the Greater Pasadena Area On October 14, the Pasadena Latino Coalition (of which NHMC is a member organization) hosted a town hall forum to discuss the state of Latinos in the greater Pasadena, California area. The town hall promoted community engagement and highlighted data provided by the Pasadena Public Health Department, the Pasadena Unified School District and other data sources. A copy of the presentation can be found here.

National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a woman-led 501(c)(3) non-profit civil and human rights organization that was founded to eliminate hate, discrimination, and racism toward the Latino communities.
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