Coming into 2022, the Latino community has faced numerous hardships. Following the 2020 Election, our community faced unrelenting attacks through disinformation and hate speech online and over the airwaves. Throughout all of this, NHMC remains focused on protecting our community from harmful content while providing essential resources to close the digital divide.
Last year we saw how far disinformation could lead to real-world harms, from Covid-19 falsehoods to election lies that led to the January 6th Insurrection. Despite the efforts of the Biden-Harris Administration to rectify the errors of their predecessor, we have only seen disinformation and hate speech thrive.
The rise of harmful content targeting Latino communities has increased on social media platforms and in traditional media. As we have seen Latino communities become nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population, NHMC will continue to shine a light on our stories and advocate for our people and other historically marginalized communities to oppose discrimination and racism and safeguard our democracy.
Digital Rights are Civil & Human Rights
So much of what we advocate for today is built on the shoulders of the ancestors who came before us, lost their lives, and fought for the rights we enjoy today. To honor that legacy, NHMC is committed to pushing beyond equality to equity, dignity, and a right of quiet enjoyment free from hate and harassment.
In 2022, our world will be overwhelmingly digital. Our community’s success, sustainability, and prosperity are directly associated with our ability to safely and meaningfully access the internet, technology, and digital opportunities. That’s why for NHMC, digital rights are human rights. We cannot increase equity for Latinx in the U.S. without codifying our right to access the internet, be protected from hate and harassment online, keep our data secure, protect our privacy, and be free from algorithmic–or otherwise technology-empowered–discrimination. As we begin the new year, NHMC is committed to ensuring that Latinx Digital Rights are prioritized and guaranteed.
Additionally, under the continued leadership of our first-ever woman President and CEO, we will highlight the achievements and advocate for the continued success of women–particularly women of color. As we face increased barriers to equity, civil rights, representation, and justice throughout the country, NHMC is committed to advocating on behalf of Latinas and all women to stand up against injustice rooted in bigotry, misogyny white supremacy.
Two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, families, and households across the country continue to struggle with broadband challenges. Among the Latinx community alone, at least a third of Latinx families do not have internet access at home. Without broadband, strain is placed on Latinx children and families who must learn to navigate a world where we depend on the internet to receive crucial information, stay connected, and create opportunities for our families.
In May 2021, we saw the historical Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program rollout at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which provided qualified low-income families with affordable internet access through a discount on their broadband service bills. While the program helped support over eight million households in 2021, more families, including Latinx families, continue to struggle with affording access to the internet at home. Acknowledging and accounting for this continued digital divide is crucial this year as the EBB transitions to the new, more permanent Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). In 2022, NHMC will work with the FCC and our civil rights allies to ensure that all families who qualify for the ACP monthly internet discount have the support they need to access it.
NHMC’s long-standing position is that access to the internet is a human right. Our communities should not have to decide between providing for themselves and their loved ones or paying their internet bills. That’s why throughout 2022, NHMC will remain committed to fighting for policy solutions that close the digital divide.
In particular, NHMC will advocate for:
As a part of our fight to close the digital divide, NHMC will continue to advocate for a free and open internet where our community feels safe from discrimination or harm. In particular, NHMC will focus on restoring net neutrality through the FCC and legislation to ensure that our community is not vulnerable to censorship, blocking, or discrimination.
We believe that the open internet is essential for Latinx’s ability to tell our own stories, create our own content, participate in the digital economy, and have autonomy over our online experience. Net neutrality is the idea 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.
In short, ISPs should not be able to block, throttle, or otherwise discriminate against different kinds of content or users based on what will benefit their bottom line the most. NHMC believes that without net neutrality regulations or laws on the books, ISPs will create a two-tiered internet ecosystem. Historically and intentionally marginalized people will be relegated to “slow lanes” based on socio-economic status or another proxy. Access to the internet is too critical for our everyday lives to trust that ISPs will do what’s best for our community. To protect our community from the harmful practices by ISPs, we will continue to advocate for net neutrality as it ensures that network management practices are fair and unbiased.
In 2022, NHMC will continue to advocate for:
Platform Regulation and Oversight
NHMC’s mission since its founding has been to combat hate and exploitation, targeting Latinx in all forms. This includes organized hate and extremism groups, rhetoric, and disinformation targeting Latinx communities on social media and video sharing platforms. From preventing the exploitation of users’ private data to eliminating hate online and holding social media and video sharing platforms accountable for their role in enabling harmful content, NHMC will continue its mission and efforts to protect historically and intentionally marginalized communities from radicalization violence, and hate.
From the El Paso Massacre to the Christchurch massacre in 2019, the Charlottesville hate rally in 2017, and the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, to the January 6th Insurrection of 2021, it is clear that online hate and disinformation leads to real-world harm. There is a clear trail of radicalization, extremist ideologies, disinformation, and white supremacy for nearly all of these heinous acts of violence.
For over a decade, NHMC has continued to warn our community and the public about the dangers of hate online. Media platforms like Facebook use their algorithms to amplify harmful content simply because it increases engagement and allows them to sell more advertisements. In other words, these platforms have and will continue to place profits over public safety unless they are held liable and responsible for the harmful content they allow to propagate on their platforms.
Therefore, in 2022, NHMC will advocate for:
The strengthening of election security to prevent hate and disinformation by extremist groups from dissuading or disenfranchising the Latinx community from access to the ballot box.
The disconnect between the depth of the Latinx population and meaningful representation continues to be a crucial priority for NHMC in 2022. Highlighting disparities and gaps in media representation is especially important due to the growth of disinformation and hate the Latinx community faces on the digital landscape.
NHMC believes that tolerance, acceptance, and favor for our community begin with how the world sees and understands us. Despite the Latinx community being nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population, we are overlooked in our unique cultures, customs, and diversity.
Meaningful representation in media, business, and political leadership positions opens avenues for Latinx to influence policies that directly impact the wellbeing of our community. We must continue to challenge industries to uplift Latinx leadership and assist in the development of our community.
However, long-term solutions to these issues require a proper understanding of the problem–something that we have yet to grasp fully. In the past, incomplete research understated and undermined the magnitude of the Latinx representation gap, and our community has suffered those consequences. Recent studies on Latinx representation in the media industry are not enough to close the Latinx representation gap. NHMC believes that the power of the Latinx community as a whole, alongside our allies, is the key to achieving adequate, authentic representation across industries and fields.
Therefore, in 2022, NHMC will advocate for: