Anti-Latino rhetoric: The Latino brand is damaged

By Carlos Harrison, Voxxi

In an unprecedented move, a group of prominent Hispanic entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the country joined forces with national advocacy groups Monday to launch a concerted effort against a rising tide of anti-Latino rhetoric.

“We’re not here to create fear. We’re here to fight fear,” said Roel C. Campos, chair of the board of the New American Alliance. “What is the problem? The problem we know: We have a divided, polarized country in a moment politically, which might be expected. It’s essentially the   ever-present fear, and a desire to stop change.”

It’s a historic departure for the NAA, traditionally dedicated to issues of access to capital and economic empowerment. But increasingly negative discourse aimed at Hispanics, much of it centering on the heated immigration debate, compelled the organization to take action.

The Latino brand is damaged,” NAA executive director Maria del Pilar Avila told Voxxi. “That’s why it’s necessary for the NAA to stand up, to raise our voices, to bring all of these organizations together, to ensure that we send a clearer message about who we are as Latinos, about what our contributions are, and then, together, figure out the action we take.”

The group, along with the National Council of La Raza, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, announced the initiative at the “1st American Latino Summit” in Miami.

“Whatever we choose to do today when we leave is going to have an impact on this country not only in this election but for many years to come,” NAA co-chair Ana Maria Fernandez Haar told the gathering.

The project combines the networking reach, marketing acumen and political skills of the business leaders in the group to the ongoing efforts of the Hispanic civil rights and advocacy groups. It’s a welcome boost, Clarissa Martinez de Castro, NCLR’s Director of Immigration and National Campaigns, told Voxxi, and evidence of the growing concern of Latinos in all walks of life.

Latinos as a community are seeing the effects on civil rights of the toxic nature of the overall debate on immigration. And even if immigration is not your top issue you are feeling the aftershocks of that environment,” she said. “It is encouraging to see different groups within the Latino community coming together to push forward and challenge what is nothing short of anti-Latino sentiment we’ve seen grow across the country.”

The idea for the summit came from NAA co-chair Fernandez Haar, who said she was driven to move the business group into a new area because of the increasing vitriol of the rhetoric.

The dialogue and the tone has been a bit un-American, I would say,” she said. “Feeding off those fears has been a thing that’s had a very negative effect and it’s something that we also need to address.”

The point, though, is understanding, not antagonism. NAA’s co-founder stressed that what’s good for Latinos is good for the country.

“We’re not here to discuss an agenda of Latinos, for Latinos, by Latinos only,” said former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. “We are here to discuss an American agenda of progress and prosperity in which Latinos will pay a larger role than ever before in the history of this country. … We’re here because we love this country. We love our country.”

This article was first published in Voxxi.

Carlos Harrison is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, editor and writer of more than a dozen books in English and Spanish. A former national and international correspondent for the Fox News Channel, Harrison also has written two award-winning television documentaries and seven feature-length screenplays, as well as hundreds of newspaper articles and dozens of magazine pieces.

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

Coronavirus: Mexican wrestlers sew Lucha Libre face masks

Victor Landa April 23, 2020

Unable to compete due to coronavirus, Mexico’s Lucha Libre wrestlers have taken up sewing face masks. Social distancing means the iconic sport is on hold for now, so fighters need […]

Latinos: COVID-19 Disrupts Finances, Daily Life, Mental Health

Victor Landa April 6, 2020

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. But U.S. Latinos are more likely than all Americans to say the coronavirus pandemic changed their daily lives, and disrupts their mental health, finances, and jobs, according to new Pew Research […]

A Profile of Coronavirus and the Latino Workforce

Victor Landa April 13, 2020

*This article was originally published in the NALCAB Blog. Over the last month, the Coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the lives and well-being of all Americans. It has disproportionately impacted the most […]

Hispanics more likely than Americans overall to see COVID-19 as a major threat to health and finances

Victor Landa April 14, 2020

Hispanics are more concerned than Americans overall about the threat the COVID-19 outbreak poses to the health of the U.S. population, their own financial situation and the day-to-day life of their local […]

Coronavirus could ‘decimate’ Latino wealth, which was hammered by the Great Recession

Victor Landa April 16, 2020

Octavia Nieto worked for over 10 years as a pastry chef at a bakery in Princeton, New Jersey. Now with the business closed indefinitely, she relies on a part-time job […]

Latino Teens: Distance Learning Is a Giant Stressor amid Coronavirus

Victor Landa April 22, 2020

Latino teens are more worried than their peers that they won’t be able to keep up with school work or extracurricular activities amid coronavirus, says a new survey by Common Sense and […]

LATINX PLAYERS POISED TO BLOW UP THE 2020 NFL DRAFT

Victor Landa

Despite these uncertain times, the 2020 NFL Draft will proceed as planned. But because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2020 NFL draft will be held virtually for the first time […]

Government Relief Less Likely To Reach Latino Businesses

Victor Landa April 23, 2020

Latino communities may face a generational setback in growing wealth, as the pandemic-driven downturn exacerbates an already present gap in funding for their small businesses. Juan Rios sits among the […]