Tanya Saracho Among Top TV & Film Creators Demanding More Latinx Representation in Hollywood

Tanya Saracho is calling for more Latinx representation in Hollywood…

The Mexican playwright, screenwriter and actress is among some of the top creators in television and film who are demanding for change when it comes to Latinx representation as Hispanic Heritage Months comes to an end.

Tanya Saracho

In an open letter to Hollywood more than 270 Latinx showrunners, creators, and television and feature writers, including Saracho, Lin-Manuel MirandaGloria Calderon-Kellett, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Steven Canals, John Leguizamo, Linda Yvette-Chavez, Carolina Paiz, Marco Ramirez, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and more are calling for systemic change in the entertainment industry.

The letter begins: “As we come to the end of Hispanic Heritage Month in the midst of a global pandemic and continued racial injustice, many of us in the Latinx community have found it difficult to celebrate. Inspired by the activism of the Black and Indigenous communities, many of whom also identify as Latinx, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Black, Native and Indigenous writers, co-signing their WGAW Open Letters and echoing their demands for systemic change in our industry.”

“As Latinx Showrunners, Creators, TV and Feature Writers, we are incensed by the continued lack of Latinx representation in our industry, especially among the Black and Indigenous members of our community,” the letter continues. “Our stories are important, and our erasure onscreen contributes to the persistent prejudice that prevents real change in this country. This prejudice is not as overt as the one that keeps immigrant children in cages and separates families at the border, or as violent as the racism that is killing our Black, Brown, and Indigenous community members at the hands of police.”

“But when we are onscreen, we’re often relegated to stereotypes or villains. And as a recent​ ​New York Times OpEd​ states, ‘White elites cannot muffle a huge, vibrant community for decades and not expect consequences. For Latinos in the Trump era, these consequences are deadly, from Hurricane Maria to the Walmart shooting in El Paso and the pandemic, as well as soaring hate crimes.’”

The letter points out that the Latinx community makes up 18.3% of the U.S. population but it is not reflected in film and TV. There are only 4.7% feature writers and 8.7% TV writers that are Latinx. As Latinx writers move up to Showrunner level, the stats only get more dismal. “By refusing to tell our stories AND by refusing to put us in charge of telling them — Hollywood power brokers are complicit in our exclusion,” the letter remarks.

This is even further supported by a recent study from CAA and Parrot Analytics, which shows that even though television shows are a lot more diverse than they were three years ago, not all racial and ethnic groups were equally well represented in scripted debuts. Latinos and Hispanics remain significantly underrepresented despite being one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country.

While there are shows like One Day At A Time that having managed to get multiple season orders, there have been other Latino-fronted shows in the past years, like The Baker and the Beauty and United We Fall — that have been canceled before getting the chance to find their footing beyond one season.

The letter can be summarized with three words included heavily throughout: “We are tired.”

The open letter does not mince words with the demands and draws out exactly what needs to be done including creating stories for and about the Latinx community by Latinx creators; greenlighting Latinx-fronted projects; respecting all aspects and intersections of the Latinx cultural representation; and hiring Latinx creators for non-Latinx projects.

The letter, which was posted on social channels with the hashtag #EndLatinXclusion, closes with “Stories are powerful. Stories change the world. Let’s get on the right side of history so we can continue to create needed change and tell captivating stories together.”

This initiative was launched by the Untitled Latinx Project (ULP) founded by Saracho. It’s an all-Latina advocacy group formed to increase representation of Latinx created stories for television. The goal of this call to action was uniting the professional community of Latinx writers, creators and showrunners.

Read the letter in full here.

Joaquin Castro & Congressional Hispanic Caucus Urge Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to Update Diversity in the Media Report

Joaquin Castro is calling for a more diverse media…

In a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) – chaired by the 45-year-old Mexican American politician and U.S. Representative for Texas’ 20th congressional district – is urging the commission to update its “Diversity in the Media: A Chart Book for Selected Industries” report, which hasn’t been updated since 2004.

Joaquin Castro

The call to action furthers Castro and the CHC’s efforts to increase diversity in media and entertainment and to have a baseline of data for transparency and ultimately greater accountability in the industry.

The letter is addressed to EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon, as well as EEOC Commissioners Victoria A. Lipnic and Charlotte A. Burrows and discusses the importance of having a baseline of data for transparency and ultimately greater accountability.

The 2004 report lays out data on the diversity in media in three major categories: broadcasting, publishing and cable.

With the advent of streaming and the surge of digital content, the CHC points out that the media industry has “drastically changed” since the report was released over 16 years ago and it’s time that revisions be made.

Castro and the CHC requested the EEOC update the report no more than 60 days from the receipt of the letter. They also are looking for updates every 30 days until the final report is released.

The CHC broke it down and requested that the new report include:

  1.  Disaggregated data on race, ethnicity and gender by individual industry rather than the grouping format used in 2004.
  2.  New industries such as digital content and streaming provider
  3.  Updated data for all positions in each industry from entry level up to and including Executive level positi
  4.  When possible, data on salaries and wages disaggregated by race, ethnicity and gender for each of the employee categories, including Executive level positions for each industry.

“While discrimination and lack of equal opportunity for underrepresented groups is present in many fields, the media industry is unique in its ability to influence the broader culture and shape the perception of entire groups,” the letter stated. “When Latinos do not have the opportunity to shape the media’s depiction of our communities, it ultimately emboldens a misunderstanding of our communities that weakens the social fabric of American society. The CHC views greater transparency around employment data through publicly available information as critical to increasing representation for Latinos and other underrepresented communities.”

An updated report would hopefully help move the needle further as Hollywood tries to become more inclusive when it comes to talent in front of and behind the camera — specifically in a time when the country is seeing a social and civic reckoning.

It also comes after a blatant lack of Latinx representation when it came to Emmy award nominations, even though the television landscape was filled with Latinx-led shows like Vida, One Day At A Time and Gentefied.

Pose has been an Emmy favorite and although star Billy Porter was nominated, there was no love for show co-creator Steven Canals or series stars Mj Rodriguez and Indya Moore, who’ve delivered stellar work on the FX drama.

The new ABC comedy United We Fall features Latinx characters but with the cancellation of The Baker and the Beauty, there’s a glaring absence of shows with a majority Latinx cast on a major network.

Last fall, Castro led a congressional delegation to Los Angeles where the CHC met with several studios and streamers, talent agencies, as well as union and guilds. Congress has worked to include this language in almost all of the major funding bills during the Appropriations process and in the National Defense Authorization Act. The CHC has regular conversations with stakeholders regarding the state of the industry. Most recently the CHC had meetings with Amazon Studios and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as they develop their new 2025 diversity initiatives to ensure that Latinos are included in these goals on diversity.

The letter was signed by Castro, Robert Menendez (Co-Chair, Diversity Taskforce), Tony Cárdenas (Co-Chair, Diversity Taskforce) as well as members of Congress José E. SerranoRuben GallegoGilbert R. Cisneros, Jr.Juan Vargas and Nydia M. Velázquez.

ABC to Premiere Christina Vidal-Mitchell’s Family Comedy Series “United We Fall” in July

Christina Vidal-Mitchell will be celebrating the Fall this summer…

ABC has scheduled a summer premiere date for United We Fallthe family comedy starring the 38-year-old Puerto Rican actress and Will Sasso.

Christina Vidal-Mitchell

The network ordered the series back in May 2019, and had been looking to release the series in the fall

United We Fall, which hails from Sony Pictures Television and ABC Studios, will bow with back-to-back half-hour episodes starting at 8:00 pm ET on Wednesday, July 15, with episodes being available on Hulu the following day.

A holdover from ABC’s 2019-20 season, United We Fall follows the trials and tribulations of Jo and Bill (Vidal-Mitchell and Sasso), parents of two young kids, as they try to make it day to day as a functioning family. Bill’s very judgmental live-in mother (Jane Curtin) and Jo’s large Latinx Catholic family never hesitate to let the couple know they’re seemingly screwing up, but Bill and Jo will always have each other’s backs and united against everyone: other parents, teachers, doctors, specialists, coaches, co-workers and especially their kids.

Guillermo Diaz and Ella Grace Helton also star.

Julius “Goldy” Sharpe wrote and executive produced the pilot. Mark Cendrowski directed the pilot.

Christina Vidal to Star in ABC’s Family Comedy Pilot “United We Fall”

It’s a united effort for Christina Vidal.

The 37-year-old Puerto Rican actress has been cast as a lead opposite Will Sasso and Jane Curtin in United We FallABC’s family comedy from Making History creator Julius SharpeSeth GordonSony Pictures Television and ABC Studios.

Christina Vidal

Written by Sharpe and directed by Mark Cendrowski, United We Fall is a profoundly realistic, multicultural sitcom that shows how, when two people, Bill (Sasso) and Jo (Vidal) with young children and overzealous extended families truly love each other, barely anything is possible.

Sasso’s Bill is a confident, analytical yet funny and emotional father and husband. Bill and his wife, Jo, both have college degrees, great careers, and a solid, loving marriage. However, since having their second kid, they can barely make it out the door. He tries to hold it together because he loves his family more than anything, and, deep down, he knows his wife is slightly too cool to be with him.

Vidal’s Jo, the youngest of ten siblings, is not a “traditional” mom. Although she is a strong female role model for her kids, she’s cool, sarcastic, and does things her own way, often bringing her into conflict with other parents and her own extended family.

Vidal played the series regular role of Detective Valeria Chavez in Training Daywhich aired for one season on CBS. She was most recently seen in a recurring role on Sneaky Pete, and previously recurred on Limitless and Code Blackamong other credits.