A nonpartisan organization that launched in October is starting a program to help Hispanic voices break into mainstream media in their areas of expertise, in an effort to chip away at Latino underrepresentation.
Aquí, an accountability movement led by White House veteran Nathaly Arriola Maurice, will provide media training and booking services to five experts who work in advocacy and civil society organizations.
“The Speakers Bureau is an initiative by Aquí. It’s simple. How do we grab the best and brightest in our communities and help build a media operation around them?” Arriola Maurice told The Hill.
According to Aquí, Hispanics make up only 12 percent of the media workforce and 4 percent of management, though Latinos make up 18 percent of the overall workforce.
“We believe the Latinos Speakers Bureau will be a crucial asset as we work to center Latinos in positions of influence and power, demand fair and accurate portrayals of the community, and defend against harmful attacks, stereotypes, and demagoguery,” said Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, chair of Aquí’s board.
Those disparities have led to less exposure for Hispanic issues on mainstream media, but also to an overreliance on a few voices to address a multitude of issues, Arriola Maurice said.
“There’s a huge lack of Latino voices nationally, as we know, and the ones that we do have, by virtue of their positions, are forced to be experts in every single issue,” she said.
“But we do also have many wonderful leaders who are organizers, who are policy experts, who are civil rights folks, who can tell their own stories.”
The Latino Speakers Bureau will launch supporting five policy experts in different fields, including Latino history and identity, border communities and health care.
Liz Rebecca Alarcón is the founder of Project Pulso, a nonprofit news and commentary site focused on Latino issues. Alarcón is a commentator and expert on Latino history.
Mayra Alvarez is president of the Children’s Partnership and an expert on child health equity who served on President Biden’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, and was nominated in 2023 by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to serve on the Covered California Board of Directors.
Antonio Arellano is vice president of communications at NextGen America, the country’s largest youth vote mobilization platform.
Astrid Dominguez is executive director of Good Neighbor Settlement House, a nonprofit organization that mainly serves people in need of shelters, low-income communities and migrants.
Rudy Espinoza specializes in revitalization of urban, low-income communities as executive director of Inclusive Action for the City.
“Cable and mainstream news networks, often facing demanding news cycles with little room to breathe, often resort to familiar voices who have D.C. expertise but little lived experience outside of the nation’s capital. Historically, we have seen only a handful of Latinos voices be interviewed,” Arriola Maurice said.
“While their voices and understanding of the federal government remain crucial, our intention with Aquí’s Speakers Bureau is to elevate a series of trusted local and state leaders to bring to light different experiences, and provide them with resources and training to have a seat on the national stage.”