Joaquín Castro, patrons viewing exhibits at the National Museum of the American Latino, and UnidosUS President Emeritus Raul Yzaguirre engaging with an attendee at a reception celebrating his 2022 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Power ofLatinoRepresentation

In 1994, UnidosUS—then known as the National Council of La Raza—released two reports which documented the virtual invisibility of Latinos in the media. Back then we noted that “it was easier to see an alien from outer space than someone Hispanic onscreen.” Additionally, we highlighted the almost complete absence of Latinos and Latinas offscreen in the executive ranks of major media companies.

Raising Awareness of Latino Contributions

Nearly 30 years later we are still facing this issue. This year we continued the work to point out this severe underrepresentation and led with solutions—lifting the issue in panel discussions at the UnidosUS Annual Conference and online. Ahead of Hispanic Heritage Month, we launched the Arizona Count on Us campaign as a pilot to raise awareness of both the contributions by the Latino community and the challenges faced in education, health care, housing, and other areas. This effort was backed by data from the 2020 Census that pointed to the increasing diversity of this country, led by the growth and economic power of the Latino community.

Building on the strategic engagement and partnership of our arizona affiliates, the campaign elevated the talent and stories of Latino business owners, essential workers, and leaders as meaningful contributors to the economic success of the state—where census data showed this demographic change happening in a big way.

UnidosUS President Emeritus Raul Yzaguirre with friends and family at a reception celebrating his 2022 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía and Eduardo Díaz, Acting Deputy Director of the National Museum of the American Latino, chat while viewing an exhibit in the Molina Family Latino Gallery.

The Result: A Narrative Change

We received the support of Dr. Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University who partnered on an op-ed piece with our President and CEO Janet Murguía. New partners and influencers promoted over 1,200 social media posts regarding Latino contributions to the state and the country. Our surveys showed that those who saw the campaign were 15% more likely to strongly agree with messages supporting Latinos as contributors to our economy and our nation.

Respondents also said they would be more likely to take various actions, including:

  • Sharing stories of successful Latino business owners and their impact on communities
  • Advocating for policy change
  • Donating to Hispanic-focused organizations

We are proud of these results that your support made possible, as they suggest that narrative change can lead to behavior change that will ultimately help improve the material conditions of our community.

Lupita Ley Hightower, Superintendent, Tolleson Elementary School District; Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UnidosUS; Kathy Cano-Murillo, Owner, Crafty Chica; and Ardell Deliz, Captain, Phoenix Fire Department.Rob Ortega, Owner, B&E Appraisal Service at the UnidosUS Count on Us Campaign Launch.

Up Next:The Power ofthe Unidos us–Affiliate Partnership

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Attendees of a Workforce Development program at UnidosUS Affiliate PODER

Stronger Communities.
Stronger America.

UnidosUS is the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. Since our founding in 1968, we have contributed to a stronger America by elevating the voice of Latinos, and defending and advancing our community’s concerns.