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As part of Time’s Up growing mission and evolving leadership under new CEO Tina Tchen, on Tuesday the organization announced support for The Latinx House, an initiative to create community, engagement and further opportunities for Latinx voices in and outside of Hollywood. The Latinx House was co-founded by Monica Ramirez (Justice for Migrant Women founder), Olga Segura and Alex Martinez Kondracke, with the launch event’s host committee that includes stars America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, Gina Rodriguez, Diane Guerrero and Karla Souza.
Described as “a gathering place for people who appreciate and support the Latinx community and who celebrate Latinx excellence in film and entertainment,” The Latinx House will partner with Sundance Film Festival for its kickoff event, and over the next year will hold events at SXSW and both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
“The Latinx House is going to be set up in places of consequence, so we’ll have dedicated space there where we’ll be doing programming for and by the Latinx community, and it will range between panel discussions, some educational skill-building sessions, gathering and networking opportunities; we also want to build bridges and help educate our allies about who we are and what our priorities are,” Ramirez, the founder of Justice for Migrant Women, told The Hollywood Reporter at The Latinx House’s private first event Saturday. “We want to ensure that wherever it appears as though there are power plays being made — decisions being made — that are going to impact our community, we have an opportunity to set the House up there.”
Nearly two years after the formation of Time’s Up in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and beginning of #MeToo, The Latinx House partnership reflects the organization’s specific focus on women of color and minority communities, who say they have not seen the wave of industry change as strongly as others.
Gesturing to Orange Is the New Black‘s Guerrero and How to Get Away With Murder’s Souza during a roundtable discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, Rodriguez said, “It is unfortunate that the three of us are three of the only working Latinas — that we can count it on our hand is unfortunate, that in the top 100 movies we’re like two of them and yet we’re the biggest growing demographic in this country. Fifty thousand Latinas turn 18 each month, which is the reason why we have to ignite our community to vote, but also to unify in order to understand our positive power and our consumerism, our ability to create a change, the fact that we hold the box offices every weekend and we’re still not seen in them, and that we do have the power to sway an election — we just need to know the positivity of our power and how we can use it for good.”
Jane the Virgin star Rodriguez, who is currently producing projects for Netflix and Disney+, added that she wants to see “more representation in front of and behind the camera, but that’s what we are doing amongst ourselves, too. It’s not like we’re complaining — on the contrary, we’ve all created our own production companies, we’re created our own content, we’re saying that we’re not going to wait for them to include us, we’re going to put ourselves into projects and tell our stories authentically. But that also includes the discussion with our community to understand that they will hold us up as well.”
While The Latinx House will focus on Hollywood and entertainment, the group will also turn its attention to politics and uniting the community ahead of the 2020 election, focused on creating a space to share ideas, encouraging civic engagement and getting people registered to vote.
“Our community is deemed one of the most important voters that we have,” Guerrero said. “We’re talking about voter suppression and that’s something that our community has often experienced through family separation and lack of a path of citizenship, but the reality is a lot of us are able to vote and we’re still feeling that suppression, whether it is that we’re not well informed or it’s hard to register in some states. We’re here to remind and activate those folks where their power lies.”
Souza chimed in on how U.S. elections also affect Mexico and all of Central America, so “our votes here really do affect millions of people, and [it’s important] for us to know the power that we have as Latinx voters in the U.S. and how that will intrinsically create these bridges to all of Central America.”
The group of actresses and activists also touched on how the Trump administration and its anti-Latinx rhetoric has caused division within the community as the rhetoric is so negative, the groups are fighting each other because they don’t want to be affected by it.
“You have Puerto Ricans saying, ‘I’m not Mexican, I’m Puerto Rican, I’m a citizen,’ and as a Puerto Rican I don’t agree with that because together we’re so much stronger, and if they talk about my brothers and sisters I need to protect them too, especially having the power that I do,” Rodriguez said. “We’re fighting this invisible rhetoric —I understand the fear of our community to unite because the rhetoric is so strong and so evil and so hateful and so negative, but that’s the only way we can combat it.”
With the creation of The Latinx House, the women also took time to reflect on the group’s beginnings, with Rodriguez remembering how she and Ferrera hosted a “Latinas Who Lunch” meeting months ago of with all of the Latinas they knew working in the industry.
“The feeling, the palpable energy in that room of like, ‘Oh my God, we’ve never been together, we’ve never been like, ‘Yeah, sure, there are three roles available and there are 35 of us but let’s pick up those three who get them, and let’s create three more so three more of us can get them, too,'” she recalled. “Just to feel the energy of ‘competition no more.'”
Guerrero added, “It’s all been by design, so now we’re trying to create something different where we’re educating our youth, educating our communities on the importance of representation, importance of voting, importance of unity. Guess what? Time’s the fuck up.”
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