Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, along with other Latino media leaders, gathered in Sacramento last Wednesday for the second annual Latino Media Summit 2023, hosted by the Latino Media Collaborative (LMC). This year’s summit discussion included equity, representation and how California can utilize Latino-focused media’s power, reach and impact.
Founded in 2019, LMC strives to develop high-impact media and outreach campaigns in partnership with the Latino media sector in order to advance, inform and keep Latinos engaged.
As stated on its website, LMC works to “build cross-sector coalitions between Latino and ethnic media, issue leaders and community influencers to ensure that our communities have access to high-quality independent news while building resiliency in the sector.”
Despite Huerta being 93, she continues to advocate for women, immigrants, farm workers and the working class. Originally from New Mexico, Huerta has taken part in boycotts and strikes, as well as social justice initiatives and community engagement, throughout her career. In the 1960s, she fought alongside Cesar Chavez for farmworker rights and promoted equality and quality education for all.
Getting out the Latino vote is really important, as Huerta emphasized during the panel discussion. She stated that the more that the Latino community vote, the more power the Latino will have.
“There are enough of us Latinos in every community, especially here in California and the Southwest, but even in places like Georgia, there are 200,000 Latinos,” Huerta said.
One of the several guest speakers at this year’s summit was Veronika Moroian, President and General Manager of Univision Los Angeles, who spoke about Latino representation in television. During her presentation, she mentioned that Hispanics represent 97% of California’s population growth. Another important fact that was interesting is that 82% of Hispanics in Los Angeles speak Spanish at home and that 73% prefer candidates that advertise in Spanish to try to win their vote.
Teresa Puente, Professor of Journalism at CSU Long Beach and Opinion editor at CALÓ NEWS, was another guest speaker who spoke on Latino media representation. Most of Puente’s work is dedicated on Latino representation. Earlier this summer, Puente surveyed 90 Latino Media outlets in California. As of now, some of the challenges that Latino media in California is facing is getting a hold of revenue, full-time staffers, lack of fully Bilingual talent, misinformation and change of perception of advertisers about the Latino community. “Many still think Latino-focused media is only in Spanish and stereotypical. We’re out here to change that,” Puente said.
It is more important than ever before for Latino media groups to be represented in the media, Huerta commented as part of the discussion. “As the numbers grow and even in places like Oklahoma, they have thousands of Latinos,” Huerta said. “Latinos are growing so much in the United States of America, we have become a very precise force when it comes to the elections. And as all you know the problem is that a lot of our people don’t vote, a lot of people don’t become citizens. They do not understand or they do not know that they have the power or that they can use the power of our numbers. And the only way that we can reach them is through Latino media.”
CALÓ NEWS spoke to Dolores Huerta on Latino representation, the Farm Workers Movement, amnesty and other important topics.
WHAT IS THE MESSAGE YOU WANTED TO DELIVER TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY IN THIS YEARS LATINO MEDIA SUMMIT?
I’m grateful to be here and to be included in today’s conversations about all the Latino media collaborations but also on the importance of the work that so many journalists and media are doing for our community. And why is it so desperately needed? Because as a population we are growing so fast and so many of our people so many immigrants are coming to the United States of America and they don’t really understand how important their presence is, their participation is, and the only way they can really learn that is through or Latino media.
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO PASS ANOTHER AMNESTY? AND WHAT WOULD THAT MEAN TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY?
We know that we are now 20-something years behind and having another legalization in the United States of America, which has always been a policy of the United states and is not anything new. And almost every 20 years there has been a legalization program in the United States from day one, when all those European immigrants came to the United States. They were the true immigrants. And the only thing holding us back is that we just need more senators in the U.S. Senate and a majority of Democrats and we need a majority of immigrants in the House of Representatives and this is the only way that we will get the amnesty, just like we have gotten it in the past by, [is by] having progressive people in the Congress and in the Senate. Our people really have to understand that and we have so many Latinos in many populations in the southern states and in other states and we really have the numbers right now to elect people and supporters and pass the legalization. We just have to get our people out to vote.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CAUSES YOU ARE WORKING ON NOW? AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT THEM?
Well we have been working on COVID. Our organization has vaccinated about 12, 000 people against COVID and we have also been working a lot on education. We are trying to stop the schools-to-prison pipeline and erase the racism of existence in all of our schools, especially in the Central Valley. We have so many children who are not getting an equitable education. We also have started getting ready for the registrations for the elections of 2024. We are also working on a youth organization program in the five counties of the Central Valley and yes, of course on the environment. We know that the environment really affects every one of us and so we are doing a lot of work on the environment. People need to understand the importance of water and how they can conserve water and we’re doing all of that work.
DOES THE FARM WORKERS MOVEMENT REMAIN STRONG? AND IS THERE MORE WORK TO BE DONE?
Well the Farm Workers Movement is led by the United Farm Workers and thank goodness they have a lot of support especially since the last march they had in Sacramento. So, we know that they are still fighting. We know that the opposition is still very strong against them. Recently the organization was able to distribute hundreds and thousands of dollars to the farm workers community, thanks to President Biden that made that possible.
WHAT IS THE LATEST UPDATE ON THE IMMIGRATION REFORM FOR FARM WORKERS?
Well there is a bill in the Congress right now that would qualify the farm workers to get legal status to work in the United States. But unfortunately, it does not cover the rest of the immigrant community and would only apply to farm workers. And we know that some people only have temporary status in the United States of America but we really have to work to make sure that all people that are not legalized get legalized.