Thank all of you for joining this inaugural Latino Media Summit and congratulations to the organizers, sponsors, panelists and members of the Latino Media Collaborative on this historic day.
Most importantly, let me salute the journalists here who have devoted their craft to truth telling and chronicling the rich history of Latinos in this country.
Whether it is outlets like La Opinión who in just a few years will celebrate its 100th anniversary to the newly founded CALÓ NEWS, we have told the stories that need to be told: the repatriations of the 1920’s, the civil rights and Chicano movements of the 60’s, the Latino empowerment movement of the 80’s, the immigrant rights movements in the early 2000’s, the stories of Covid’s devastating effect on Latinos in the 2020’s.
Our role has always been to inform, to educate, to empower, and to be empowering.
Latino media has been there to lift up and celebrate all that we have contributed and will continue to contribute to this New America.
We have been there to defend and to advocate for what is just and right.
Latino media has used the power of the press through words, images, broadcast, social and digital media to defend our familias against the systemic racism endured for far too long. We have been there to shed light on what must change for this to be a truly inclusive society.
We do it through the sheer power of information that empowers our gente to participate.
Through our Latino media, we have flexed our muscle and found our voice as a community. It’s not a single voice or a single perspective – but it is ours. Told through the eyes of those closest to the issues – reporters, editorial writers, columnists, editors, videographers, photographers, digital content producers – we witness and live the issues of our community. We bring a Latino perspective to news and information that resonates, is real and relevant.
Our role in strengthening America’s democracy cannot be understated.
We contribute to this democracy with radical hope, inspiring the community to be engaged, to participate, to find their voice and power. Closing the information gap can lead to action as we have seen – through the ballot box, at school sites, at the workplace, in corporate America.
Our Latino media has historically played a critical role in strengthening society by bringing awareness to the issues that matter most in our lives – an economy that works for all, a healthcare system that provides adequate and affordable coverage, an education system that responds to our needs, safe and clean neighborhoods, access to capital to start our own businesses and buy a home.
Our media has been a critical partner to community progress, empowerment, and immigrant integration.
We have helped others recognize and understand when our Latino community progresses, our nation advances.
Latino media is at the cornerstone of our nation’s democracy.
I was just in D.C. last week where members of the Administration heralded their legislative successes, the American Recovery and Rescue Act and Build Back Better, now known as the Inflation Reduction Act, two pieces of legislation designed to rebuild our country’s infrastructure in a more equitable and resilient way.
And it got me thinking that now more than ever we need an American Recovery Act for Latino Media.
With the decline of reliable, multi-year revenue streams for Latino media, we are witnessing an erosion of a key pillar of our democracy that cannot, should not, be tolerated. Local journalism is under assault and local Latino media is being decimated at a time when the Latino community is vitally important to the future of this country, state and region.
So let us advocate for resources to rebuild this vital information infrastructure in our community. We must move beyond single timebound campaigns like the decennial Census to funding that is sustainable, durable and resilient.
Whether it be government, business or philanthropy – there is an imperative for you to engage. It is time to expand our notion of equity and systems change to fully embrace and support the fundamental role that Latino media plays in our civic and social infrastructure.
We are called to act with conviction.
Supporting Latino Media means investing in the future of our democracy.
These remarks were made by Monica Lozano at the Latino Media Summit on September 22, 2022 in Los Angeles.
Monica Lozano is a media executive with more 30 year’s experience, including editor an publisher of La Opinión. She is president and CEO of College Futures Foundation and has been elected to Apple’s board of directors.