The Latina community is not a monolith. Taken straight from the #WeAllGrow Summit last year are four diverse Latine voices speaking out on what is often unspoken in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion and how we as a collective need to look out for each other for the people who do not have a seat at the table.
When we talk about representation, it’s not just about how often we’re represented in TV and film; it’s also about the type of representation. It’s not only about how audiences view us; it’s also about how we view ourselves – the mosaic that is the Latine community. In that, there is also a responsibility for all of us to acknowledge how we hold privilege and how we can use that to stand in solidarity with the underrepresented and work towards the liberation of all of us through diversity, equity, and inclusion.
We had amazing Latina voices at last year’s #WeAllGrow Summit, and many spoke on the importance of diverse representation and how we as a community need to hand over the mic and hold ourselves accountable. We’ve gathered key quotes from their main stage sessions for you to chew on. You can watch the full videos below.
Black people are ostracized in the conversation around Latinidad.
“Kitchen table conversations that happen in everybody’s houses around negritude, la negrita, el negro, I really don’t care about it. But when it impacts me and my freedom, by my own supposed people from Latin America that are also immigrants here, then I have an issue. Because now you’re playing with my money, my ability to parent, and my humanity. The same racism in our home countries migrated here and became more powerful. Latines cause a lot of damage to people that look like me. Those things we have to talk about in an honest way.
Black Latina women, people, and families – we don’t always feel that we belong in all spaces. And when we look around, [there are only a few of us] in safe spaces for Latinos and Latinas. We join hands with the African American sisters and the African sisters from the continent that embrace us sometimes more than the people that come from our own countries. And that should be something that people really reflect on.”
True representation is diving into the nuances that make us who we are.
“We want to watch content where we’re featured in. And when you add behind-the-camera representation (producer, writer, show runner), you get a lift in watchability. Because that’s how nuance gets folded in. The nuance is what is meaningful to us.
Think about how different we all are in this single narrative that’s being pushed externally about us—even the positive ones. There are so few pieces of content being created. There is so much pressure on those pieces of content to be everything for everyone. We need to have grace with the pieces of content that do come out that are reflective of our community.”
We need to bridge the gap for deaf Latinos in our community.
“I know people are talking about the barriers between English and Spanish, but sometimes we forget about the other parts. The bonds that we can build with each other as humans on a primal level. It’s frustrating for me as a deaf person to see people with disabilities struggling to find their way through life. There is no bridge right now between the deaf community and hearing communities right now. It’s very separated, and that’s also within the Latine community.
It can be tough to hire a deaf and hard-of-hearing actor, but we can communicate in many ways. We can get creative with how hearing people can communicate with us. It’s not impossible –it’s doable. You have to have an open mind, definitely an open heart. Deaf people can do anything that hearing people can do. So, we need to support each other to offer safe places and build that relationship.”
Join forces with Indigenous people, and we’ll go a long way in fighting for justice and liberation.
“We created CIELO because there was a need to create an Indigenous woman-led organization that focuses on and centers Indigenous women, especially young Indigenous women. There needed to be a space that advocates for Indigenous peoples’ rights and for people to know that we exist today across the U.S. in Mexico.
The Latino movement is very important, and we would never ask you to step back because your struggle is very important. But just as they say back home – en un carro cabe cinco, puede caber uno más. We learn from our culture. We learn from your culture. Apretaditos, we’ll go a long way in fighting for justice.”
Embrace your authentic self, show up fully as her, and honor her.
“I cannot choose not to be trans and not be Latina. That is what I am. And if that is what I am, I’m going to show up 100% what I am. I think it’s about being authentic and finding your power within yourself. Through being silenced in society, and seeing the challenges of myself and women like me, it gave me no other choice but to begin to speak for my needs and the needs of my community.
I ask for a lot of money. Without resources, we cannot do real tangible work. You cannot have influence without resources. Don’t have that fear, and just ask.”
About the Author
Chantelle Bacigalupo is #WeAllGrow Latina’s Editorial Staff Writer. She is a Bolivian-American photographer, multimedia journalist, and activist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work focuses on issues ranging across immigration, social & environmental justice, preserving Indigenous cultures, and reproductive justice. You can read more of her pieces here.