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Director Gregory Nava said he knows what it’s like to be separated from family at the southern border. He recounted losing his grandfather in the 1930s, who was deported to Mexico and how the event split his family apart.
“We still suffer from the wound of that today,” Nava said upon receiving NALIP’s lifetime achievement award. “Children are being put in cages and all of us here are in those cages…. They are us.”
Nava was one of the eight honorees celebrated at the NALIP Latino Media Awards on Saturday. Also receiving honors at The Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood were actresses Karla Souza and Mj Rodriguez, showrunners Gloria Calderón Kellett and Tanya Saracho, among others.
The Saturday night awards show, hosted by Al Madrigal, marked NALIP’s 20th anniversary and brought about conversations regarding industry inclusion, how to uplift future generations of Latino creators and the crisis at the southern border.
Nava, whose works include El Norte, Selena, My Family and Bordertown, said that the mission of inclusivity in the industry goes beyond representation, but also impacts the ways people view members of the Latino community. He explained to The Hollywood Reporter that though Hollywood has gradually opened its doors to Latino writers, producers and actors, it needs to open its doors more than it has in the past. “We really have to rise to the occasion right now, tell our story, let the country see our heart so what’s happening at the southern border will never happen again.”
Kellett, co-showrunner for One Day at a Time — which, after being canceled by Netflix, will air its fourth season at new home Pop TV — said that receiving the night’s media advocacy award feels strange since to her it’s “really just speaking up for community.” The executive producer, who received the award alongside Saracho for their #OneVidaataTime movement, told THR that the people doing the work that really matters are the pro bono lawyers and advocates at the southern border.
She also said that Hollywood can’t continue to turn a blind eye to what’s going on at the U.S.-Mexico border. “We can’t be silent in our little Hollywood bubble while atrocities are happening,” Kellett told THR.
Receiving the honor for outstanding achievement in television was Pose‘s Rodriguez who said she would have never thought that she would be a role model for future generations.
“There was a moment where I wasn’t confident, but now I can say that I’m a figure for younger individuals who are like me, and not just because of my trans-ness, but who are black, Latino, Latina, who are trans, who are of the LGBTQ community,” she told THR. “I’m speaking to them and hopefully I could be a beacon or a pillar for them to lean on or look up to when they feel there’s nothing to look forward to.”
Nava ended the evening home with a powerful speech that brought the night’s attendees to their feet. After addressing the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, the director addressed President Donald Trump himself. “We have a president who uses his words to attack us. We are bing told that we are not real Americans. .. Well, I have news for you Mr. President — we are already back,” he said. “This is Los Angeles.”
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