There’s a new project near and DEAR to Tanya Saracho’s heart…
The Mexican-American actress, playwright, dramaturge and screenwriter has teamed up with America Ferrera and Gloria Calderón Kellett joined the Untitled Latinx Project and HARNESS that they respectively co-founded to create DEAR Hollywood.
Saracho, Ferrera and Calderon Kellet, three of the most dynamic creators in Hollywood, brought together two of the most preeminent advocacy organizations to further advance Latinx representation and equity in the industry.
With the acronym standing for Demanding Equal Access and Representation, DEAR Hollywood aims to bring greater representation of Latinx voices, stories, talent and creativity on both sides of the camera and on set and in the corner offices in the film and TV industry.
Planting the flags of equity and education, and set for a soft launch this month, the newly minted organization today unveiled its self-declared, and what should be self-evident, “five pillars”:
- No stories about us without us
2.Greenlight our projects
3. Represent all aspects of our lives and culture
4. Put a limit on repeating levels
5. Hire us for non-Latinx projects
To reach those more than reasonable goals, the plan is that over the next year, DEAR Hollywood will liaison with at least five studios and networks, which means streamers too, to secure a commitment to the pillars above as a pathway to systemic and evolutionary shift in the way the industry sees, treats and works with the Latinx community. A varied community, who, it might be noted, make up a not insignificant portion of the U.S. population, and hence significant consumers of the media industry.
“The entertainment industry has admired the problem of Latinx exclusion for long enough,” Ferrera told Deadline of the impetus behind DEAR Hollywood with the Vida and One Day At a Time EPs. “It is time for all of us to turn our good intentions into real action and build true solutions that empower and resource Latinx storytellers,” the Superstore star added on the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month.
A long-time activist, Ferrera co-founded HARNESS in 2016 with Wilmer Valderrama, and Ryan Piers Williams with the goal of using the power and platform of the big and small screen to foster a more just world.
“The rich talent and multi-dimensional experiences within our community are more than worthy of being reflected in their authenticity and full humanity,” Ferrera noted of the goals of the new group. “There is great opportunity for our entire industry in the genuine empowerment of Latinx creators. I am thrilled and honored that Harness is partnering with Untitled Latinx Project to incubate and launch this incredible creator-led initiative to uplift Latinx communities in the stories we see on screen and hire more Latinx talent throughout the entire film and TV industry.”
“It has been one year since we wrote the letter to Hollywood to kick off this initiative and frankly, we haven’t seen the type of response we had hoped for,” exclaimed ULP leaders Saracho and Calderón Kellett bluntly Friday.
“While announcements of diversity, inclusion and equity programs abound, without intentionality and clearly defined action steps, they have little value,” the showrunning duo added. “We are thrilled to work with Harness and eager to collaborate with industry leaders and partners, so we can all move the needle towards Latine inclusion and representation together.”
As well as Saracho and Calderón Kellett, the 2019 formed ULP’s high profile membership includes Leah Benavides-Rodriguez, Tawnya Benavides-Bhattacharya, Linda Yvette Chávez, Valentina Garza, Jenniffer Gómez, Julia Ahumada Grob, Silvia Olivas, Evangeline Ordaz, Sierra Teller Ornelas, Carolina Paiz, Ilana Peña, Dailyn Rodriguez, Gladys Rodriguez, Lindsey Villarreal, Debby Wolfe and Michal Zebede.