When I was a reporter with mainstream newspapers, I had to pitch my stories ideas to an editor, or what is commonly called a gatekeeper.

At times, it was frustrating convincing my editors, who were mostly white, that stories about the Latino community mattered.

I once pitched an editor a story about a change in immigration policy, and the editor was only receptive when she realized the story could impact her nanny.

I took on the role as opinion editor at CALÓ NEWS so that I could become a gatekeeper. It’s an opportunity for me to write columns and editorials, but also a chance for me to amplify voices and publish other Latino/a/x writers.

This month marks our one-year anniversary. I’m proud our independent nonprofit news site has published more than 40 Latino opinion writers.

This is significant because Latino voices are rarely seen in the opinion pages of mainstream media. For example, only 4% of op-eds published by the Los Angeles Times featured Latino writers, according to a 2020-2021 study by the UCLA Latino Politics & Policy Initiative.

Here at CALÓ NEWS we have elevated the voices of Latino/a/x journalists but also of Latino/a/x professors, doctors, activists, community leaders and students. Here are some highlights of who we have published in the last year.

We are happy to welcome our latest contributor, Gabriel Lerner, Editor Emeritus and former Editor-in-Chief (2014-2021) of La Opinión. He wrote about the candidates running to fill the City Council seat left open after Nury Martínez resigned for making racist and bigoted statements in a recorded conversation. He will continue to write for us about Los Angeles politics and city issues impacting Latinos.

“With the removal of Martínez and Cedillo and the fight from the rear by De León, the Latino leadership of Los Angeles has been decapitated. This scandal left behind a political vacuum. The downfall entails the loss of decades of experience in local government, knowledge that only time can acquire,” he wrote.

Patricia Guadalupe has been the Washington, D.C. correspondent for Radio Bilingüe and Latino USA. She writes for us about national issues that impact Latinos here in California. One of her recent pieces looked at new efforts to pass legislation to help DACA recipients and DREAMers.

“California has the largest number of DACA and TPS recipients and both pieces of legislation have overwhelming support from the California congressional delegation, but again, little chance of passage given the current political climate of what has been called a dysfunctional House under the influence of the far right, and a Senate that cannot move with the lower chamber,” she wrote.

Dr. Álvaro Huerta is a fellow at the Harvard Divinity School and also an Associate Professor in Urban & Region Planning and Ethnic & Women’s Studies at Cal Poly Pomona. He has written about his educational journey, as well as the lack of Latino/a/x representation in Hollywood.

“As I reject American individualism, I know that my successes as an academic or “braincero” (one who works with his brain) wouldn’t be possible without the sacrifices of my father, as a bracero (one who works with his arms), and mother, as a domestic worker (or doméstica) for several decades.To conclude, my late Mexican parents and their paisanos (past, present and future) are not the burdens of society or bloody invaders or job thieves, as the white nationalists want us to believe. They are the salt of the earth,” he wrote.

We’ve featured Latino/a/x health experts, including Dr. Heidi Zapata, an Infectious Diseases Physician and Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Medicine. 

“Due to the widespread apathy in our communities about the pandemic fueled by strong voices of misinformation, people are no longer wearing masks in public, even in high transmission zones, which is especially concerning when considering that Latinx people are among the groups that are one and a half times more likely to contract the virus and twice as likely to die from COVID-19 in comparison to their white counterparts. Uptake of vaccine boosters is also dismal, with only 37% of those eligible getting their first booster and 24% getting a second booster,” she wrote.

Maria Bonilla is an undergraduate student at UCLA and Policy Fellow at the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute. She wrote about the housing crisis in Los Angeles.

“For nearly two years, my family was one of many unhoused families in Los Angeles. We lived in two Culver City motels, moving between the two every 28 days. Despite my mother working over 40 hours a week as a waitress, cleaning tables, and taking orders, we were still not financially secure enough to rent. In response to my father’s addiction, the state incarcerated him on nonviolent drug charges, leaving my mother to be our breadwinner. This is what displaceability is like – always being on the verge of displacement despite efforts to be housed. In one conversation with my mother about our housing insecurity, she told me, “That’s how families get stuck. You can’t pay monthly rent, and you end up spending your check on motel expenses,” she wrote. 

These are just a range of the Latino/a/x voices we have published in our first year, and we are looking to publish more. To pitch me an opinion piece, email me at teresa@latinomedia.org

Teresa Puente has spent her career reporting on immigration and Latino issues in the U.S. and has also reported extensively from Mexico. Previously, she was a staff reporter at the Chicago Tribune and...