LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS
2000 L Street, NW, Suite 610
|For Immediate Release
June 30, 2002
Contact: Lorraine Quiroga
Houston, TX - Leaders of the nation's largest Latino advocacy coalition met with the new National President of the League of United Latin American Citizens, LULAC, to launch a major new initiative targeting the entertainment and media industry.
"Our meeting signals the start of an aggressive, intensified campaign to address one of the most important concerns of our community, the way we are perceived," said Hector M. Flores. "We are resolved to renew and expand our united commitment for change at a critical time when media mergers and consolidations seriously threaten to create powerful new monopolies," Flores stated.
Following his election at the 73rd annual LULAC National Conference held in Houston, Texas, Flores met with Alex Nogales, National President of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, NHMC, and Jerry Velasco, President of NOSOTROS, the nation's oldest Latino arts advocacy organization.
Flores said LULAC will contact NBC TV and parent company General Electric this week about recent reports involving Latino employees of newly-acquired Telemundo, the nation's second largest Spanish language television network.
"We are very concerned with NBC's double-talk that has been publicly spinning a PR smoke screen while orchestrating wholesale dismissals, employee harassment and intimidation behind-the-scenes. These actions against selected Latinos at Telemundo and NBC have happened in major markets including Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas. Their disingenuous conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We are informing our community leaders nationwide and their advertisers with the truth and demand that NBC executives stop these practices immediately," said Flores.
Flores said the Media Council was briefed at an emergency meeting held in Washington, D.C., June 26th by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFTRA, AFL-CIO about reports of alleged labor violations against Latinos. AFTRA represents 75,000 television and radio artists nationwide and is currently attempting to negotiate inclusion of Latino employees at Telemundo within the existing NBC Labor Agreement.
"NBC must be willing to pay its Latino employees the same way it pays non-Latino NBC employees. We welcome NBC exploring new business opportunities within the Latino market but will vehemently resist exploitation of our market. They will not get twice the language skills of Latino journalists at half-price. There is no discount on our talent and to the contrary, bilingual Latino journalists should be valued if NBC intends to be successful," he added.
In addition to developments within the NBC / Telemundo news media organizations, LULAC was also briefed by Nogales on the on-going legal battle involving the network's entertainment division.
"America has the wrong perception about Latinos because we are either unseen or poorly portrayed in virtually every aspect of the images seen through the entertainment and news industry," said Flores. "We are determined to reformulate for America who we really are instead of relying on others who fabricate images which are contrary to the majority of real and genuine Latinos and the values we represent."
"The children of color of America deserve to see themselves in roles other than gang-bangers and delinquent lawbreakers; adults as other than maids, gardeners or caricatures with moustaches and heavy accents. Also, we will step up our efforts to seek greater participation behind the camera; creating the scripts and producing mainstream entertainment and niche programming."
"No more shall we entrust the telling of our story to studios that distort images for profit without regard to inaccuracies and the lasting harm and damage inflicted upon our community but especially our children. To them, LULAC says, 'Shame on you, Hollywood !' and 'Shame on you New York!' for selling distorted images of Latinos for profit," concluded Flores.
Nine Latino national organizations are members of the National Latino Media Council including the Cuban American National Foundation, LULAC, Mexican American Grocers Association, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Association of Hispanic Publications, National Association of Latino Independent Producers, National Council of La Raza, National Hispanic Media Coalition, National Puerto Rican Coalition, NOSOTROS and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization in the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC council nationwide.