Dr. Luis Martinez-Fernandez
Episode 52: Latinx's Role in Protecting Democracy in the U.S.
Meet Dr. Luis Martinez-Fernandez, a professor of history who experienced life events that demonstrated the fragility of democracy itself, and who now is committed to protecting it. Dr. Martinez-Fernandez was born in Cuba and two years later, his family migrated to Miami as a consequence of the Cuban Revolution. They moved to Lima, Peru afterward, only to flee another anti-democratic event, which led them to move to Puerto Rico, where he completed his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in History. Years later, he embarked on yet another migration, this time by choice, to North Carolina, to pursue his Ph.D. in History at Duke University, and he has been living in the continental U.S. ever since. Dr. Luis Martinez-Fernandez became a historian because he wanted to understand his life story, and this led him to specialize in the History of Latin America and the Caribbean.
We talked about the various events that we have experienced, as citizens of Venezuela, and Cuba, and about the political trauma that we and our families have experienced throughout our lives, and how that trauma sometimes gets in the way of understanding the political situation in the U.S. for what it is, without adding extra color from our experiences. We also discussed the recent global events that, once again, indicate that democracy is fragile and in need of protection, and we talked about the role that Latinx like you and me, play in helping protect it. It boils down to practicing civil engagement and stepping into power, and the responsibility that comes with being the largest minority group in the U.S. and the fastest growing one.
Episode 49: Latinx Representation in Media, or Lack Thereof
Meet Carlos Salcines, a Cuban-American born and raised in McAllen, TX whose Latinidad helps him add a multicultural twist to how movies are being advertised in Hollywood.
Carlos was born and raised in McAllen, TX, which meant he was exposed to the Cuban and Mexican cultures, and experienced the complexity of being a Latino in the U.S. early on in life.
After graduating from high school, Carlos started College at the University of Texas at Austin, convinced that he would become a doctor, but always had a strong interest in movies and television. It was his cousin who had a tremendous influence in the fate of his career, after inviting him to attend the first ever Latin Grammy’s Ceremony in L.A. Once he returned from that trip, and only after reaching a compromise with his Cuban parents, Carlos doubled majored in radio, television and film, as well as advertising.
Upon graduation, he packed his car and moved to L.A. to pursue his career as a creative, and ended up landing a job in advertising. Today, he is the V.P. of Multicultural Marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures. He has been involved in marketing movies like “In The Heights”, “Father of the Bride” and “Black Adam” to diverse audiences.
Given the focus of his job, the topic of representation is top of mind, because he believes seeing ourselves represented in all fields is extremely important, as it can help us dream of what was once unthinkable.
We discussed the lack of representation of the Latinx community in media and entertainment, and the frustration and disappointment we feel every time a show that centers Latinx stories gets cancelled. We also discussed what we can do to help see more people like us in media, telling stories that go beyond our suffering and resilience, and it all comes down to embracing the fact that Unidos Somos Mas.
Being Latinx in the U.S. is complicated because we are not a monolith, but we can celebrate what unites us, while recognizing our differences. The invitation is to support Latinx shows/movies by watching, and encouraging our friends to watch… just like we do with shows that center other cultures and experiences in their stories.