We've Got Hollywood Covered

Latinx Showrunners, Writers Demand Better Representation Across Hollywood: ‘Inclusivity Is Not Enough’

Signees include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tanya Saracho (”Vida“), Gloria Calderón Kellett (”One Day at a Time“) and John Leguizamo

More than 270 Latinx showrunners, writers and creators — including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tanya Saracho (“Vida”), Gloria Calderón Kellett (“One Day at a Time”) and John Leguizamo — have called on Hollywood leaders to change the way writers’ rooms, project greenlighting, storytelling and hiring and retention are conducted in the industry.

“We are tired of Latinx projects being developed with no Latinx writer, director, or producer attached. We refuse to be filtered through a White perspective. We are tired of hearing ‘we couldn’t find any Latinx writers to hire,'” the showrunners, writers and creators said in an open letter published on Thursday. “We are tired of being painted with the same brush. …  We are tired of stories that are only about our trauma. We contain multitudes. We are tired. Movement on this is critical. Inclusivity is not enough. We want action.”

The letter, addressed to “Hollywood,” specifically pointed to the underrepresentation of Latinx writers in the industry and outlined a series of demands: to staff writers’ rooms with more Latinx writers — especially when it is a Latinx-centered project — and invest in and promote non-white writers; for networks and studios to greenlight more Latinx-created projects, and for those projects to be reflective of the diversity of the diaspora; and to hire Latinx creatives for positions that aren’t just on projects focused on identity.

“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 said.

Read the full letter and list of signees here or below:

Dear Hollywood,

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. 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.”

Writers create television and films, the arenas where national conversations about culture take place. But while Latinx ​are ​18.3%​ ​of the U.S. population, we only make up 4.7% of feature writers and 8.7% of TV writers. 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.

We are tired of Latinx projects being developed with no Latinx writer, director, or producer attached. We refuse to be filtered through a white perspective.

We are tired of hearing “we couldn’t find any Latinx writers to hire.”

We are tired of Latinx writers being asked to repeat staff writer and lower staffing levels, which not only ensures that we stay at those levels, but also helps perpetuate the narrative that Latinx writers don’t exist at the showrunner and other upper levels.

We are tired of being painted with the same brush. We are made up of an array of backgrounds and ethnicities.

We are tired of stories that are only about our trauma. We contain multitudes.

We are tired.

Movement on this is critical. Inclusivity is not enough. We want action. Here are our demands:

1. No Stories About Us Without Us
Make room for us to tell our own stories. It is not enough to hire one Latinx writer and expect them to be the sole representative of a vast and heterogeneous group of people. Hire more of us. Listen to us. Put us in positions of power. Don’t know how to find us? Reach out to the WGA, or go to one of the TV writer lists created by members of our community. (​La Lista​, ​The Latinx Writers​, ​Afro-Latinx List​)

If you’re a non-Latinx White writer and are offered a Latinx-centered project with no Latinx writer, director or producer at the helm, consider partnering up with someone who is, or even passing it on to and advocating for a Latinx writer. While we recognize that writers can tell stories about an array of voices and experiences, until the Latinx community is close to reaching parity, we need to be included in the telling of our own stories.

2. Greenlight Our Projects
Make a plan to reach demographic parity. It is not enough to buy our pilots, you must also greenlight them. Only a handful of pilots by Latinx writers are bought each year, and most of those are never made. Likewise, if studios, networks, and production companies were more intentional about hiring BIPOC executives, more of our stories would be championed to production. And with the recent commercial and critical success of “Pose,” “One Day At A Time,” “Vida” and Gentefied,” it’s clear Latinx stories find loyal audiences and receive accolades.

3. Represent All Aspects Of Our Lives And Culture
Make sure the projects you greenlight reflect the diversity of our population. We are a diaspora from more than 20 different countries. We are more than just white Latinx and Mestizxs. We are Black and Indigenous. We are LGBTQIA. We are undocumented. We are Disabled. We have different religious backgrounds and spiritual beliefs.​ ​We are more than our trauma. We write stories of joy, origin stories, genre stories, children’s stories, and much more. We demand to be seen and heard in our entirety.

4. Do Away With Repeating Levels
In television writing, we want advancement of all writers and regular promotions like our non-Latinx white counterparts. For too long, BIPOC writers have had to remain at staff writer level for multiple years, either because they are dismissed as “diversity hires” or due to the loopholes that diversity and inclusion programs have unintentionally helped foster. Our talent is wasted for years at the lower ranks, keeping us from showrunner positions. Rather than hold us back, invest in our growth.

5. Hire Us For Non-Latinx Projects
We are able to write more than identity stories. In fact, our stories are also American stories, ​stories of resilience, of liberation,​ of hope. Stories of business owners chasing the American dream, little girls that one day will be president or work for NASA, war veterans, nurses, musical artists and fashionistas.

Because we are steeped in the dominant culture, ​we speak at least two, if not more, cultural languages, well versed in yours as much as we are in ours.​ Our voices and our perspective will undoubtedly enhance yours and that of all Americans.

We submit this open letter in good faith that you, as our peers and colleagues, will consider it, likewise. And we will continue to demand an industry that sees us, hears us, and values our contributions so that the world will do the same through the stories we tell.

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.

In solidarity,

Jim Adler
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Rafael Agustín
Martin Aguilera
Laura Alemán
Sofia Alexander
A.C. Allen
Sabrina Almeida
Katherine Alyse
Mando Alvarado
Tom Alvarado
Fede Alvarez
Bernie Ancheta
Lemon Andersen
Keith Antone
Eva Aridjis
Alberto Arvelo
Juan Avella
Davah Avena
Marcela Davison Avilés
Shawna Baca
Michelle Badillo
Oscar Balderrama
Alfredo Barrios Jr.
Cristine Beato
Luis Bello
Roberto Benabib
Elias Benavidez
Samuel Garza Bernstein
Tawnya Benavides Bhattacharya
Diana Mendez Boucher
Ivan Brandon
Angelina Brillon
Janine Brito
Gabriel Brugni
Ernie Bustamante
Adriana Caballero
Deborah Calla
Zach Cannon
Jess Camacho
Julia Camara
Marta Gené Camps
Steven Canals
Alexis Carra
Eric Carrasco
Maria Agui Carter
Rafael Casal
Mary Castellanos
Alejandra Castro Castillo
Natalie Chaidez
Franceli Chapman-Varela
Ashley Charbonnet
Hailey Chavez
Yvette Chávez
Eduardo Cisneros
Elisa Climent
Lynette Coll
Jessica Combs
Rosemary Contreras
Fernanda Coppel
Gonzalo Cordova
Eliza Jiménez Cossio
Chad Gomez Creasey
Elena Crevello
Victor De Jesus
Christina de Leon
KD Dávila
Annelise Dekker-Hernandez
Eugenio Derbez
Emmylou Diaz
Leyani Diaz
Alex Diaz
Daniel Dominguez
Alan Dybner
Jessica Elaina Eason
Maria Escobedo
Felipe Esparza
Jessica Esteves
Morgan Faust
Juan Carlos Fernandez
Jonathan Fernandez
Dani Fernandez
Danny Fernandez
Cyrina Fiallo
Carlos Foglia
Claudia Forestieri
Kelly DeLeon Fullerton
Omaira Galarza
Zoila Amelia Galeano
Chris Garcia
Alexis C. Garcia
Priscila Garcia-Jacquier
Kim Garland
Valentina Garza
Esti Giordani
Lindy Gomez
Isaac Gomez
Jenniffer Gómez
Tony Gomez
Isaac Gonzalez
Megan Gonzalez
Eddie Gonzalez
Joe Gonzalez
Talia Gonzalez
Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Julia Ahumada Grob
Hilliard Guess
Jen Gutierrez
Brandt Hamilton
Erica Harrell
Eli Hernandez
Tara Hernandez
Dan Hernandez
Felicia Hilario
Joe Hortua
Monet Hurst-Mendoza
Michael Jones-Morales
Kira Kalush
Aubrey Villalobos Karr
Gloria Calderón Kellett
Julian Kiani
Brenna Kouf
Laura Jean Leal
Gisselle Legere
John Leguizamo
Marvin Lemus
Luisa Leschin
Benjamin Lobato
Leah Longoria
Eric Reyes Loo
Kamala Lopez
Niki Lopez
Josefina Lopez
Chelsey Lora
Phil Lord
Jenny Lorenzo
Marcos Luevanos
Gabriela Revilla Lugo
Al Madrigal
Michele Saenz Marburger
Hiram Martinez
Joseph I Martinez
Marcelena Campos Mayhorn
Cesar Mazariegos
David Mazzarri
Annie Mebane
Erik Francisco Medina
Vivien Mejia
Nancy Mejía
Natalia Mejía
Kimberly Mercado
Delondra Mesa
Brittany Miller
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Diego Molano
Jose Molina
Adrian Molina
Ana Maria Montoya
Lisa Morales
Natalie Morales
Jimmy Mosqueda
Brigitte Muñoz-Liebowitz
Peter Murrieta
Judalina Neira
GiGi Rios New
Jessie Nickson-Lopez
Christina Nieves
Jeffrey Nieves
Miguel Nolla
Silvia Olivas
Taylor Orci
Evangeline Ordaz
Sierra Teller Ornelas
Katrina Cabrera Ortega
Jordi Ortega
Lauren Otero
Emilio Ortega Aldrich
Edgar Pablo
Carolina Paiz
Ashley Soto Paniagua
Grace Parra
Roberto Patino
Ilana Peña
Kase Peña
Davy Perez
Jorge C. Perez
Raymond Perez
Jesse Peyronel
Tatiana Suarez Pico
Christina Piña
Jess Pineda
Omar Ponce
Jessica Poter
Desiree Proctor
Cheryl Puente
Miguel Puga
Christina Pumariega
Victor Quinaz
Ariana Quiñónez
Christina Quintana
Marina Quintero
Marco Ramirez
Jorge Ramirez – Martinez
Emma Ramos
Vanessa Ramos
Naima Ramos-Chapman
Nicki Renna
Jorge Reyes
Liz Rivera
Jorge Rivera
Carolina Rivera
Jacqui Rivera
Henry Robles
Eric Robles
Veronica Rodriguez
Gladys Rodriguez
Dailyn Rodriguez
Aida Rodriguez
Leah Benavides Rodriguez
Marlena Rodriguez
Maria Elena Rodriguez
Benjamin-Shalom Rodriguez
Carlito Rodriguez
Pamela Garcia Rooney
Talia Rothenberg
Jesenia Ruiz
Paula Sabbaga
Marcial Rios Salcido
Danielle Sanchez-Witzel
Nancy De Los Santos
Tanya Saracho
Janine Salinas Schoenberg
Yamin Segal
Alfredo Septién
Norma Sepulveda
Sergio Serna
Aaron Serna
Shea Serrano
Ranada Shepard
Spiro Skentzos
Beto Skubs
Francesca Sloane
Charise Castro Smith
Rebecca Delgado Smith
Natalie Mercedes Smyka
Debra Moore Muñoz
Itu Sosa
Sasha Stroman
Robert Sudduth
Linda Sweigart
Gabriela Tagliavini
Charo Toledo
Danny Tolli
Christine Torres
Orlando Torres
Oskar Toruno
Joshua Troke
Mark Valadez
Noelle Valdivia
Laura Valdivia
Mercedes Valle
Evette Vargas
Joe Vargas
Celeste Vasquez
Mellori Velasquez
Lindsey Villarreal
Adrian Viña
Debby Wolfe
Lia Woodward
Moisés Zamora
Michal Zebede