NHMC’s 2021 Priorities

Coming into 2021, the Latinx community was brutalized. Our children were in cages, families were separated, and our women were sexualized in the media while being sterilized by the government in real life. Nearly half of America voted for a President who deemed us criminals and rapists, and fought to keep us divided with a border wall. Hate against Latinx communities intensified during the Trump administration from the rise of hate crimes to the online targeting of our people. All the while, as essential workers, we were and continue to die from COVID-19 at a faster rate than our white counterparts. Despite all of this, we are still here. 

 

With the new Biden-Harris Administration comes a breath of fresh air and cautious optimism. NHMC is energized and eager to build on our last thirty-five years of advocacy to remedy harms done to our gente, and build a better, more equitable future. This includes eliminating hate, discrimination, and racism towards Latinx and marginalized communities, and safeguarding the democracy of the United States of America.

 

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 rights we enjoy today. To honor that legacy, NHMC is committed to pushing beyond equality to equity, to dignity and a right of quiet enjoyment free from hate and harassment. 

 

In 2021, our world is increasingly digital. The success, sustainability, and prosperity of our community is 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. This year, and throughout the Biden-Harris Administration and 117th Congress, NHMC is committed to ensuring that Latinx Digital Rights are prioritized and guaranteed. 

 

Further, NHMC is currently under leadership of our first ever woman President and CEO. This important shift in perspective brings an additional layer of advocacy to our mission. Women, particularly BIPOC women, face increased barriers to equity, civil rights, representation, and justice in the U.S. NHMC is committed to advocating on behalf of Latinas and all women to stand up against injustice rooted in bigotry, misogyny, and white supremacy.

 


Broadband Access 

Access to the internet is more crucial than ever, as we rely upon broadband infrastructure and service to work, learn, access health services, and engage in civic activities. At least a third of Latino families do not have access to the internet at home. Without meaningful, affordable access to the internet at home, particularly during and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Latinx children are suffering in their school work, and families are stretched thin trying to juggle the costs of technology, devices, and broadband subscriptions, navigating through this “new normal” with low levels of digital literacy, and little outside help. 

 

NHMC firmly upholds that access to the internet is a human right. Internet service should be looked at like any other utility service: something we need in order to survive. Just as low income families receive assistance for their gas or electricity, our communities should not have to decide between putting food on the table or paying their internet bill. 

 

In particular, in 2021, NHMC will advocate for: 

 

  • The equitable and inclusive roll out of the Emergency Broadband program at the Federal Communications Commission.
  • The eligibility expansion of the Lifeline program to include immigrant and mixed immigration status families. 
  • The implementation of a long-term broadband subsidy solution to close the digital divide for low-income individuals.
  • Increased research into the cost, availability, reliability, and effectiveness of broadband in this country, particularly for BIPOC and Latinx communities. 
  • Legislation to hold Internet Service Providers accountable for redlining and other discriminatory practices. 

 

Net Neutrality 

To bolster access to the internet for the Latinx community, we must restore and codify net neutrality, and ensure that our community is not vulnerable to censorship, blocking, or discrimination. NHMC is a strong defender of the open internet, as an open internet safeguards our ability to participate in the digital economy, tell our stories on our own terms, and retake autonomy over our digital experiences. 

 

Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all content flowing through their cables and cell towers in an equal manner. ISPs should not be able to block, throttle, or otherwise discriminate against different kinds of content based on what will benefit their bottom line the most. ISPs should also not have the ability to choose which content and online experiences are deserving of a “fast lane” and who is left  to be blocked or slowed down. In words, NHMC believes that each person should be in charge and have autonomy over their online experience, and should not have to battle inequitable systems or pay additional fees for equal treatment.

 

Net neutrality ensures that network management practices are fair and unbiased, and that our internet ecosystem does not develop into a model that only serves those with deep pockets and influence in our country. Four years is much too long for our community and all consumers in this country to go unprotected from harmful practices by ISPs. Democracy demands accountability and transparency from those in power positions, and restoring net neutrality does just that. 

 

In particular, in 2021, NHMC will advocate for: 

  • The immediate restoration of the 2015 Open Internet Order by the Federal Communications Commission, including reappointing a net neutrality ombudsman to field and investigate consumer-reported violations.
  • Legislation that codifies the 2015 Open Internet Order to safeguard the sustainability of net neutrality.
  • Long-term solutions which increase digital rights and protections for the Latinx community.

 

Platform Accountability 

In its inception, NHMC was founded to combat hate targeting Latinx over the airwaves. Today, so much organized hate and extremism lives online. In honoring our original mission, NHMC is deeply devoted to eliminating hate online and holding social media and video sharing platforms accountable for the role they play in enabling white supremacy. 

On January 6, 2021, we saw the most clear display yet of how inaction by social media and video sharing platforms leads to violent, premeditated attacks on our democracy. However, the attack on the Capitol was not the first time we’ve seen this happen. The El Paso Massacre in 2019, the Christchurch Massacre in 2019, the Pulse Nightclub Shooting in 2016, and so many other mass murder, violent events can be traced back to the radicalization and publication of white supremacist and extremist ideologies. Time and time again, NHMC has warned: hate online manifests into hate and violence in real life. 

 

Platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube must be held accountable for their continued enablement and hand y in the spread of hate, harassment, disinformation, and conspiracy theories. Our lives are at stake, and we cannot subject our communities to harm done in the name of executive privilege. In particular, social media platforms must be liable for the harm they cause, and should not be able to hide behind liability shields in court when their actions lead to clear, tangible harm offline. 

 

In particular, in 2021, NHMC will advocate for: 

  • The permanent deplatforming of white supremacist and organized hate leaders and supporters.
  • Equitable enforcement of existing content moderation policies. 
  • The amendment and reform of laws, including Section 230, to prevent platforms from using liability shields to evade responsibility for civil rights and discrimination violations in court.  
  • Increased transparency from platforms about content moderation, algorithmic bias and practices, leadership structures, and decision making. 
  • Increased regulation of platforms, including the investigation and regulation of harmful practices baked into algorithmic business models. 
  • Action to moderate and curb the spread of disinformation, particularly for Spanish-language disinformation and conspiracy theory content. 
  • Long-term, sustainable ways to stabilize the market, economic, decision-making, and political influence power held by platforms and their leaders. 

Media Advocacy   

In order to progress in our mission for increased civil rights and equity for the Latinx community, we must address the representation gap. Our community is underrepresented in nearly every meaningful way: in the media, business ownership, leadership, politics, and more. 

 

It is NHMC’s enterprise to increase the authentic representation of Latinx in all forms of media, including television, film, streaming, social content, and literature. We believe that tolerance, acceptance, and favor for our community first begins with how the world sees and understands us. We cannot achieve a more just or dignified position as a community unless we first have the ability and opportunity to tell our stories in truthful, intentional ways. 

 

Likewise, if we are not represented in leadership, business, or political positions of power, we are immensely limited in our influence over decisions and policies that directly impact the wellbeing of our community. We must have a seat at the table in order to avoid being on the menu. 

 

In particular, in 2021, NHMC will advocate for: 

  • Action to moderate and curb the spread of disinformation, particularly for Spanish-language disinformation on news outlets.
  • The education of media and industry executives on the variances of Latinx culture and the importance of accurate and fair representation. 
  • Transparency and accountability from all media companies, streaming services, social media platforms, studios, and networks.  
  • Increased diversity in media ownership. 
  • Accountability in the entertainment industry for their inclusion of positive portrayals of Latinx characters in the media.
  • Increased representation in leadership in the technology and media industries. 
  • Increased representation of Latinx on corporate Boards of Directors and Commissions.
  • An increased number of Latinx writers in major network writers rooms, from staff writers to showrunners, via NHMC’s Series Scriptwriters Program. 
  • Increase in front of and behind the camera talent in major television and film sets via NHMC’s Latinx Stream Showcase.