Demonstrated Allyship With The Latino Community Is Good Business Every Day Of The Week

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By LA Collab co-founders, Beatriz Acevedo & Ivette Rodriguez

Latino purchasing power in the U.S. reached $1.8 trillion in 2020 and growing — yet we are largely absent in the halls of power in Hollywood, in mainstream media, in educational institutions, and in advertising; all-powerful entities that create, promote and perpetuate who and what has value in American society.  Echoing the sentiment Lin Manuel Miranda sang in his groundbreaking musical hit “Hamilton,” it is time for Latinos to be in “the room where it happens.”

As America continues to struggle with its unprecedented reckoning around systemic racism, the national discourse around active allyship has emerged as one of the most critical responses in the fight for equal justice and protection under the law.  Latinos represent nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population and are growing six times faster than the rest of the nation with an expectation of exceeding a population of one-hundred million by 2050. Demonstrated allyship has become the deciding factor in how this powerful community, and their marginalized counterparts, will spend their dollars.  In short, the future success, or failure, of American businesses in the near and distant future is predicated on the incorporation of the Latino population.

Hispanic Heritage week began in 1968 and two decades later, in 1988, grew into what we know now as Hispanic Heritage Month.  Every year from September 15 – October 15 we celebrate the vast contributions of Latinos in America, obligatory annual gestures appear with thunderous visibility — corporate sponsorships, media coverage and ads surface in a groundswell, then disappear just as quickly. But in 2020, Hispanic Heritage month must take another step forward into the lexicon of American consciousness, not only to be celebrated once a year but to finally be incorporated into the lifeblood of the nation.

America is the only developed country in the world with demographic growth in its economy. The U.S. Latino population provides America with a unique and unparalleled advantage over all other aging economies.  In the U.S., Latinos are the youngest population (19 years old vs. 39 for Non-Latinos), and no consumer is growing faster.  From GDP growth to population growth, entrepreneurship to purchasing power, workforce growth, digital media consumption, to box office, Latinx consumers are the demo that consistently over-index in over-indexing. If the U.S. Latinx population was a stand-alone country, it would be the 3rd fastest growing mature economy globally.

Yet despite this reality in every sector of society, Latinos are grossly under-represented.  A recent study by USC’s Annenberg Foundation showed that while Latinos represent nearly 20% of the U.S. population, our representation in the industry has declined by 50% in the past decade — from 6% of the entertainment workforce in 2009 to 3% today. And while the Latinx community consumes 50% of entertainment industry content, only 1% are producers.  Out of $263 billion dollars spent in advertising, only 3.6% of all ad buy budgets target the Latinx community.  That’s a huge miss when 72% of Latinos say they are more likely to connect with an ad that shows their culture.

The best advice we can offer is that now is the time to listen, learn, immerse yourself, speak up, be an active ally but most importantly ACT and take accountability.   At times it will be uncomfortable and unpleasant, but there is growing resistance, the tide is rising and will continue to rise – the good news is, this isn’t rocket science.  By intentionally empowering Latinx community members with seats at all your tables, you‘ll ensure that brands who desire the patronage of all, are received and embraced by the most critical cohort to our nation’s recovery and success.

America can no longer afford to compartmentalize us.  So, yes – let’s celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month after October 15th, because Latinx representation at your table is good business every day of the year.

Hispanic Star is honored to partner with Advertising Week feature Hispanic voices during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond.

Ivette Rodriguez is the founder and president of AEM, a Hispanic marketing communications collective and co-founder along with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti of LA Collab, an initiative to accelerate access for Latinos in entertainment and double representation in front and behind the scenes through collective impact.

Beatriz Acevedo is the CEO & co-founder of Suma Wealth, a fintech company focused on closing the wealth gap in the Latinx community. She is also the co-founder of Mitu and LA Collab and a partner at 9th Wonder Agency.

Hispanic Star is honored to partner with Advertising Week feature Hispanic voices during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond.

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