Latinx community leaders speak on identity, politics, and finding success in America

Gio Benitez interviews Amanda Renteria, Joanna Hausmann and Jesus Trivino as a part of ABC News’ Hispanic Heritage Month speaker series.
37:18 | 09/20/19

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Transcript for Latinx community leaders speak on identity, politics, and finding success in America
Thank you all for being here this is it's fun because this is the first of the Hispanic period series this year and so. We've got big one that's what it called Latin experts doing all the things. Or. What I like to call how to be about. And that's what the fennel bulb out so these are panelists here a Mandela and video is here with us join a house men and hisses the that he veto so round of applause for them. So. I don't go ahead and just introduced them a little bit here are also Amanda and that he has a Mexican American political laid. And advisor who has worked in politics for almost fifteen years. She served in. She's served in prominent roles on the staff of multiple senators she's run for congress and with the national political director of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. She was also recently named the interim president of the merger Merrick and organization dedicated to putting women in the morning. Yeah. After an IRA and you are equally as impressive. I don't know authentic. A Venezuelan American comedian writer and actor she gained popularity going viral lover all over YouTube I think over seventy million views Hillary. Now that ultimately nothing. Writer talent on Univision is bilingual digital platform flaw month. And she's also a correspondent on the Netflix show bill nice saves the world. But she's also voice actors on Disney's monsters at work yes. Things going on. And has the three needles senior director of global Latin culture and content at title he had the authority. When it comes to Latin pop culture among the different because what I told the he's covered Latin music television film for more than fifteen years he's written so many cover stories on multiple artists such as. And at title he's exclusively interviewed international superstars including response seemed so welcome thank you all for being. So one of the things we're doing here is that work talking about we're using this word. Latin acts OK and that's essentially general gender neutral term films that thing Latino and Latina he say Latin acts. You know depending on how people identify. So where do you each see your selves in that conversation what what does it mean to you to be Latin acts. I actually come a love that we are renaming things in a new generation. So I always say I am all whatever whether it's Hispanic or mask America and or at Latin next. I just I just count loan that we're exploring new ideas. A new ways of talking about ourselves and we are defining. An and that's the piece for me that. I love and I was a moment. So. As relatively new term it sort of was coined in the 1980s basically by Univision to be able to figure out ways to. Market to people so you know. Latin next Latino that we come from over twenty countries we represented all ethnicity that we represented. And people from LG BT community we rep we are so check diverse group. Of people and I think unfortunately for many years we were put into one basket. And people thought that to identify us we had to look talk and act a certain way. So I think that the term Latin acts is sort of a term that tells us there's a great diversity. That exists in our community and they think up until recently it was difficult to convince people. That you can be Latin acts and not necessarily fit into the stereotype that we see on. On television will and I love. Lee said that because really that's one of the reasons why we're doing this this particular panel is because. This isn't necessarily what you see. On television shows and in movies this is not how the Latin X community tends to be portrayed and so that's really why we're doing this here. Hisses what. Yeah I'd actually never use the term Hispanic cause. I just a was muted at the government label but. Well look you know going up in the 80s90s at the political appeal but then all of those thing is when people actually from pummeling from Brooklyn. I'm want to raise. But then when he big my parents of a lake in Ecuador but I'm from Brooklyn I'm looking on proud almost without American. And then when the last next term and long I totally embraced it as I loved again. We're created if not like a big corporation pre but it didn't just explain that to people what you mean about Hispanic being a government term. Well I didn't. From what I know quickly from wrong but it knew it came open within the Nixon administration or some administration where they just wanted to lump us all together cause we all spoke Spanish. But as you just explain we're super divers so. You know. Christine regular that would Ecuadorean. And let you know but also so they cruises looking and she's affluent Latin acts so. It was just the way of them lumping us together and we're not we're all the same but. Were awful. Very different doesn't supercomputers in Canada and Brazilians are like data speaks Spanish but I am from Latin America and I'm not Hispanic but then am I'm Latin but then. I'm it's like. You know we have these labels for such an incredibly. Vast amount of people that it's impossible to have one thing fit every one. I feel like the emerging term as wearers sort of end. Coming to terms with our identity like just seen the term Latin X come up is an interesting way of us seeing our identity in this country. And how it's just expanding. So wanna dig in now to your histories and your backgrounds here wait to you hear her CD its dislike. Amanda she graduated from Stanford. She worked in the private sector for Goldman Sachs. She was there for three years she left to teach high school math for a year before going to Harvard Business School. And then through what I mean how does this at all how does that happen how did this were a career changes. And then ultimately you end up in politics and like huge way. Because unknown manner no no joke I mean I I grew up in the poorest congressional districts in the state of California. Among the tenth ports across the country my parents were former farm workers I got a second pick and a and a kid like me should never have that sort of career world that I've had. And I think for me I go back that is moment when I got in the Stamford. First Latina first woman in the Stamford from the little town are my parents are. Mika in my dad liked my dad took everyone in my sister's and I as prom dates like how to talk of a two hours before this and yes right. Until like four hours the Stanford was like I know me a break and then the school also my teachers also Ehrlich I don't think you can make it. I and I had one teacher. By Owen Nolan you know teachers and ever had and then in a town that some in person you know. But one. One teacher pulled me aside and said you know it's not about you but it's about your community and that somebody. Liking someone like them can actually study that he only need someone like. Then can succeed at a place like an act. And that for me has been my driving. Really my deriving key decisions in life it's not just about giving a voice to the folks that come from my come from but widening the paths of people who walk it to you. And so that's really what led me to Stanford and Harvard and then I was the first looking and chief of staff in nine states and its. And so filled with Connecticut first I think that's. What honestly it was kind of you know better rate and you just kinda like I do think if I. And you did it and I did it and again I still think you know every every step along the way it's been like how can I wide net for somebody else. How can I make sure that there's more of us here at this table. No matter whether it was in the United States senate or. On the national as a national political director on the campaign and still today as we're trying to elect women minutes left in us we're doing homework c'mon man like we got a leg run to. And there's no doubt that for women for women of color it's just harder to do this stuff and I feel totally blessed. But sometimes I got to bridge a world that's generally not bridge but because I have the kind of credentials I do. People actually listen. And then when I come from a place of icon Mike until historians and how would you like that's not gonna work I know what then act. Why do you think it took so long for there to be a first Latina. Chief of staff. When you look over I mean I am one of things I say about government about voting in general is this was a system not meant for us. And so it's not surprising that it takes time to figure out how to weave navigate the system the summit breast or. Better how do we change so that'd it is especially when the growing demographic of kids going to school. Are looking or let Max Wright and so how do we make sure that a country is actually welcoming to the vast diversity that we have coming into our schools. Before they'll become adults. And so. You know we've got to rethink now and I believe it used to be we can figure out the system I believe today with battery treat it. But that means convincing a whole lot of people who don't know what's yet they're beginning analysts that they've got to change it because it's better for the entire country. So we're right in the middle of it what I will say it's pretty Don teen as a Latino community. To somewhat go from invisible to invaders. In the very short order. And I think this moment right now that we're in we've got to take it really seriously because we can no longer hide. And I think finally the establishment is not only realizing that. But we've got to define how we want to be seen. And that's the part of I think today's politics it's really interesting for the Latino community is we get to mount a fine and people are watching in a way that I believe they've never been. Watching before. Joanna there are some similar issues also in the entertainment industry SNL has only had two. Latin acts cast members. In the past forty years. I believe the first one was Melissa of the S and noting. Fred Armisen is like half that is one Alan. And mini serie a seniority Astros like the first I think she's Mexican Americans. And I was only twenty succeed. Yeah I mean what what do you think why do you think it's kind of surprising for the entertainment industry so I mean it is. But it isn't in so many ways. When I moved here is. From in its way to ice and after projects started auditioning. The roles. Were for Latino its work ever could very specific looking people. That a lot of the times were like my friend healer who is not Latina but had like Spanish Graham pot but she looks. Why not polite not sufficiently wide and then so but she fits the mold. But she's not sold. In me and a lot of my Afro Latino friends just we could not book boat rolls. That were either Spanish speaking or Latino roles it was it was paying. Bill look verses the experience. Ends. I got kind of tired of it especially cents. I was doing stand up and and stuff and I felt like I hats ignore the fact that I am from Venezuela and like. That's a huge part of why and that's where I grew up that's where my family's from I am an island. And I had to sit I have to ignore it. A lot of a time because it just took too much explaining to people could like look at but now I look like Eric Barton. I was just like I'm tired of explaining that I can like rap to any of its own songs I'm. I and I got sick of it and into when he noticed when he fifteen. I I Univision apart in early limited to a digital platform and I like are you gotta do it with the right people. You can't look at the numbers because the Arab member went to the first meeting the Kenya bunch of numbers they were like 60% are. Mexican Americans. They. Love their culture and they love zombies and I'm like what and the like guess this is what the numbers are telling as a marketing agency that omni. Videos for Mexican American people love their culture comic that is not how you're gonna get any want to hear about it like that are. It. So we started hiring people from different backgrounds. Dominican American LG BT up where weekend. And having them. Just meet their videos from their perspective in plain view everything just kept on going viral of people like. And we do this yeah. It's about the zombies and it Clinton let the little. Tell their story of from a dairy genuine point of view and people even if they're not. From Puerto Rico even if they're not about as well in Irish army even if they're not like they see themselves. Reflected in the the off authenticity of of the person's experience and of the person's identity. So. That's sort of the trajectory of going from like. Have a feeling that hey I had to ignore identity to really a 100%. Increasing. Zombie. Come out and I did you won dissolved video that was the derailment yet it was really behaved. I think came you know adept at putting up a meet me it was like do you want a job and I'm like. Yes have they rent around dissolved to bring on the map a path but did you wanted to thank. I did it we tried so hard and it failed we have to actually put on Friday because people like what. The the worst thing we ever. It's those they got the loan is just as it's been exploding over the past couple years. What do you think from your perspective why. Is this explosion happening. That all the new artists that new though it started so. The rate don't boom happened early two thousands race them at Yankee candle of it own. But a mighty queen and then there was a low because those artists weren't collaborating wooden doors and then the south of it was repetitive repetitive. And and and trap Kendall rate. And Atlanta and let trapped in Puerto Rico Colombia DR. And then solve in the Columbia boom happened. So about when my little modern con. Koji. It goes on and on and oat producers. But those guys are collaborating with new artists. And it kept bungle and so. I'm collaborate with you I was goalless jump let's jump and thought and Esposito. Again Yankee. And me and so those are two songs and just really production wise. Because you have to understand that language if the vibe is there and the flows Rea Blakey and against it. There's a matter that's why bad but and that bond is another. You know if prime example super influences influenced by Americans have puppets Hooper Prada. Of being Latino and being Puerto Rican so I think this really just. I mean it was bound to happen but and needed the new artists need to cut collaborate amongst themselves and that's what did happen in the mid 2000 that's winnable but didn't. Think about it in those terms and I think that's so interesting thing when you think about how science. Came from. Collapse late Latin coral collaborators mixing with jazz musician Jeff and that's where sunset came from and I feel like this is our offense. In you know Latin artists collaborating. With trap and hip hop artist and creating this new sound. And it's happening now would Spanish language on dealing there's everything's. In ways but yes that's what that's what happened that's why it's accepting these are still ways to go. It's always always ago when we number one donor in the country in the world. But also another thing to think about is a great song less trapped you take with the language away its street. So bad when he's a rapper you know you know recipient is an extraordinary effort. Don't all influenced by the so. That's really what it is in the public created by you know African Americans in the penal so it just makes sense. Joining you have a super interest in background OK because your parents serving as well Yurman as well into you were born and then as well. I I grew up in an SU who built my minutes and two very sad years in the middle school in Boston but Bennett went back. I'll take you back to the political unrest I am unhappy and it is the place and so you grew up in Venezuela but you weren't actually born there you were no my parents were. Poor students got scholarships and England and so I was born in England but people are like Isabel have been Agilent we're born in England and I like that do that's not how it works. But yes I'm a news that it was by accident. It was it was a 100% by accident they were like I'll guess we'll go back to Venezuela and give birth to our child in his went on an early. Nope she's she's coming now so I was born in royal lending to spot. A town an hour away from London that I don't think anything interesting happens. I would love to go one day because I haven't really been. And you feel like you've had to explain your jewishness. When you're Filipino culture well. I mean I'm joined Houseman. That doesn't really spark a lot of like. She knows how to dance you know at night right after he knows how to make it been possible sell I feel like the the Jewish. My Jewish. Site might my grandparents. Survived the Holocaust and then went to Venezuela instead of New York because New York was like that are full so they went a little more south. That I pump my mom's side is my grandfather was matters on the my grandmother Cuban so. I feel like I I've had had to explain my last name a lot my eight Y eight. I I looked the way you why it is it's just a lot of layers. But in minutes went out. You know speaking in Spanish people just that's just knew I was from an early look at and am mean. Because PW you know but then they moved here and I looked like every girl called actually themselves. I it was just such a like a culture shock for me like oh my god I had and how to speak like an actually so I had you know from an extra hour I was I was in my element I was in my. I identity. To hear where you know I don't fit the mold of what people think I Latina is so I. I just got tired of explaining all time and for a little bit had to stop explaining. And then I had I realize I have to start explaining to other people the same way it with other circles. That's so into. India's I grew up in Miami and we Cuban and I girl from Miami and there are so many. Q when Jews there in Miami so I just feel like I never realize that that's something that needed to be explained. Yes there's there's I mean it's it's crazy because I again on Twitter which is like what I say I bar full of drunk people losing their right. I get a lot of tweets. Trying to rip me from my Latin identity for for being Jewish. They're like you cannot be any sort under your Jewish anomaly that makes literally no sense. Ends. Its did not it's been like a weird struggle it is continuing to convinced people. And that try to rip away pride as if I'm China take advantage of I don't know what being from a sweat like I don't know what. Necessarily what advantage we have right now considering are like severe crisis. But it it's it's bitter struggle to light. Just jazz beat what I feel and how people believe me it's sort of. Pisses you were born in Brooklyn he so that. So you know that's I mean probably one of my step moan and most diverse places in America but what if so there. How did growing up there influence what you into the doing music. On what I meant transfer from apple at the door but I grove a Puerto Ricans and dominicans. Fighting know and other top Americans outside of my family poets like public college. But I'll surrounded by day in the house that was south. And Mumia outside it was hip hop and knitting and Sosa and more substance of whom so. And then hip hop in along so I'm truly like a puppet because. Eighth tropical quest Dele soul gang Starr all these acts who were happening when I was coming of age. And really Wexler reading those less sort of really getting into the culture of starving in the magazines so the magazines with us the source. And byte magazine. And then when I saw some guys a byline. By this guy quote illegal entry is oddly wow I can do this and I remember him he can editor in chief. And I don't think any of the column and then he and we had a feature called almost under FBI added it was literally. Feature story on The Beatles and and so I read that and then I also was we can slam magazine which with the basketball is all influence but by the pop and all that I took all this and also my parents my father of what's always bought tons of newspapers. From it like from here to appease them wound the audio but also the newspapers from South America so he would always be racist reader of the all of that. And my mother inquiry encouraged me read. And I don't and then just journalism came along and I was high school solely your good writer you should look into journalism you can make some sort some sort of like a home birth. And then I got to college and it just it just. Just went crazy but I started to answer ships assume they got to college. With the Brooklyn College CUNY because my parents to report a home. So I got went there and in turn that I would republic say that's which hates men Internet revived an internal its own people but all this happened and influenced me I mean I think you know my upbringing helped me. Get to the point where it was because and I started covering hip hop but the thing title was covering wild when those early people Korean radical. Because I was both a hip hop edited on his. And of these mentioned that about education what you should now feel about a vote back as for the longest time I felt bad about where we don't know I feel bad bad and I don't come back more but I don't says it's interesting because my family also very poor and so I was only able to goad you know to a public place. The you know what does what. It didn't stop loss in the gulf of right and so I love that I love that man I met my best friend there he they had a couple of Spotify so. It won't happen. We did well and fifth and up. Voted. What what we're gonna do now is we're gonna open this up and I'm gonna trust you to ask really good questions because I have to hop on a plane to candid. The cover Justin Trudeau. The at all columnist with Beth Arnold and though. Would athletic. That's like letting the best I thought a happy. Accident. Thank you don't think if I have literally have to go outside. The flight that cute when he nod from LaGuardia. Another. Thank you thank you thank you know thank you ought to look authentic out. We have a question here. I am with it. You were talking about like. Having to explain that your idea because you look. What most people think that like. So I would say like in in media Parcells like a there's a perception of what Latino content -- the next content should look like. And there's a limitation there. How do we fight. Show that you know. We could decide eyes we could do action movies we don't have to be limited to the perceived notion of what the Latin acts. Mainstream culture it's. Kind of like when they were trying to make you do. Con ten. How do you go it no actually my passion project is this crazy. Scifi story Ehrlich series like I'm done on Amazon. Which if you watch it's fantastic breaks that world. X. While that is that is a hard question to answer. I feel like if we don't know the answer we would have the golden ticket in a lot of ways. But I I I don't know what you guys think but I feel like. As seen other Latin pictures sort of break the mold in their respective fields whether that be authors. Directors. Animators. I think as long as they are specific to their. Own particularity which. What I'm trying to say is I think. We are always push to to cater to the general. Lot next audience. Instead of kick just telling a story from our own perspective matter when you. And they think that once you do that and you actually find someone with a few. You just hold tightly to that. That story. I think authenticity. From. From personal experiences is incredibly helpful in the arts. Instead of looking at the general in trying to find a story that it's. So I think that the people that have been successful and have told sports for the general public. Are those I have found particular areas within their would within I love this line which is within the particular like universal. And it leak it was Jack White who spent that I don't even know anymore. But within someone's own very specific experience. Lies. The general appeal for everyone. And I think that's specificity is what we need to be out looking port working. I'll yeah I all Dick this from sort of a political angle and I think it's changed for me over the course of my career. Where at the beginning I would try and bring you know I I would be in the room and people it's also was a little looking nothing about it. Right or or in this in this particular policy coming we're looking. And on the one had so I'll tell you led I think collecting I think about it I'm only one but I'll tell you and I think we think about it. But then I'll tell you a broader perspective because I'm actually you know a been studied and economic policy on a broad scale to. And at the beginning I would kinda secretly weave it in in the beginning in my career. At this point in my career though I say by the way I I just name now and I sick and I tell you about this and now. I'm I heard that question is asking you not been a but I would like you'd ask a question also as a professional and then I give on the other I think it nicely. But it it's been helpful what I've learned in naming that is it's been helpful for people to see me differently now. And that was the part that I feel like I needed to change. But it's only in that I've learned sort of aren't as being quiet about it all stay in that bucket. Let's actually say it. To and I thank you. Hi there. So. I'm Rick Segal from the view and it was a couple years ago I was in in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania covering a trump rally. And there was a woman they are who Hadley Tina's for trump. And she said you know I'm I'm from chill a and I stood in line my family stood in line we did things the right way and every one who's trying to come in. Yeah we need strong borders and and it's sort of hit me as a while so you wouldn't expect this woman. To be here wearing that shirt necessarily with everything that's going on. So I would just love to know I know they it. You know. In terms of like immigrants if that most you're born here. But what's your position because I know that there's an you had said. That you know you're in a position right now we you know being seen as invaders as opposed to people who actually were born here and live here and a part of America. What's your position right now in terms when when you hear. You know keep keep the immigrants out to you it's protect our borders how do you all feel about that. You. And it kills me lately but beatable my parents might. You know old all the work they do all the work it did to get me here in. Even though they came you know might what followed can legally Roland mother today and also was Booth that we're in the sixties with a lot easier. Yes just devastated me I just I I'm I'm heartbroken I'm actually sometime this chain of the American because Americans going on. I yet again it came to speak much about it that could emotional so. It's. I think people don't realize how immigration is is set for immense privilege how how people that are able to get here legally. Have an. And an obscene amount that I mean I came here legally with my family because my father what's offered a job because I was able to get a green card. And that is there are so many people that do not have that opportunity and just because they're born in one place or another that means that they don't have the right. To have the the plethora of opportunities that up a place of peace offers them it it. Also chino has completely different immigration. But offered that US so and then also Cuba does so you have to leans in Cuban having different opinions about immigration not general not general rising population. But you know every country has their own struggle in ways of trying to get here which sort of feeds. How the standing in political lines here you know we work with I'd should be but talk about it but. But it feels like. People forget how hard it is. To do this legally they don't get it they don't understand how hard in which privilege need to do it legal. So I won't forget. The day that trumps. And talked about Mexicans being repressed and criminals. And remember or somewhere in the middle of Michigan at the time. And I called my mom Ryan isn't what you do at those moments icon on I can't believe this I can't believe this I can't believe I'm the highest ranking I think on this campaign. I don't even ought to sit Hillary we're gonna get back on private jet went. She's gonna ask ray and and and I kind of expected my mom aren't at that moment we cuts going to be OK you know everything works out and her answer was light. Only now we had our time. Unless the damn well. And you know and it was funny because then I had a conversation of Hillary and I said. So let me put this in context because my mom was in the audience when says that Travis rfk broke the fast and the -- California. She's been through the marches she's been through the fights break and heard vice at that moment was the stuff is hard and now out at the and I think there is something that my generation has learned an even my kids now generations learning witches he sings on just come to you. That people before us has have fought a time for me to have though the path that I had. And there advice at some moment was OK I did it you do it now. And so that gives me a little bit of why don't break down and cry every single time 'cause I feel that. Is hand bildt's. Of being strong right I'm bill of those civil rights movements and I know we've got way more Brothers and sisters and not movement because of where our country is today. And so that's what keeps me going. But I keep telling particularly younger generation of people that might not know the plight. Of generations before us we've got to educate folks that's what this is about it's not simply about being on the same page but it's a deep education that we are one. Art so we are running out of time and fortunately. Com and that we can talk a lot longer about this it's been really conduct a comic productive conversations so thank you guys. I just want leave with one more question will go down the line. Each giving an answer. And so we are just hoping to learn you know what advice. You would give to the younger generations. Living in terms of breaking into the industry are just you know. Understanding their own. Identity and if anything also what advice would you give to your younger self. Hugo it. A habeas that's. The first question was. What what advice are younger generation. As it at. Reiterated a couple times are eater news talk but definitely stay true to the specificity of who you are. Don't try to meld into something that other people think. Fit with who you are. Ends this is really important. And I cannot stress this enough. When you get that door open leave it propped open for others to come in. And not just because it's the right thing to do. But because I swear you those are your allies and when you're in that room and you lock eyes was someone who has. Had to do a similar fight like you have an ally in the room. It is it is by far I think one of but the best things that has happened to me that other people have done an intern that I have been able to do thankfully with some of the an immensely. And does this change over time but I I think about this and in any thank you kind of all this great advice and analysts that in. You have a four year old who. Transgender four year old who comes own and says ominously when last rate and a girl. And you it was then that I go. Okay if I imagine her journey ten to fifteen years from now what elected her right now. And it was two things I said one was exactly right BU. You are you in your beautiful and your wonderful but to you're also a pioneer Mika. And then along with that is not an easy road. But we're gonna want to together but no now at four years old. That you are pioneer and I wish somebody had said that to me so I have those moments I was like all this is a pioneer means right. So my little we'll come home tonight mom had a pioneering dated. Like that's such a better way to think about it cells and I. I don't. Kind of the same but really media media's ever changing I would always say to younger generation always NORAD that. I thought it was going to be a magazine writer my whole life and the poem and then went fits in Milan and network TV we're and streaming now. Nota adapt it also. Beyond Latino beyond anything to grow saying well where this you know. We're all human direct just only a dirt. You can beat you could have. It'll be a jerk if the. Coming out via pioneered don't bid Derek and got it I'm. I doubt I'm my name's Scott MacKenzie and Messina producer here I'm pleased to hamper one of the panel. For tired. Watch all the shows. And a lot of give and go out with about about. He's now if you're not registered to vote shall try to get a good about my mom just became a citizen might Mali rice everyday viewers forget your accident. She's like I'm I just thought it he's under under crazy. And I was gonna make shut out to help create Victorian modern there at a KO. Adams got. Parents to move. So Stephanie who helped pull this together and to help put together we're doing this again on Monday but this is our first part Hispanic heritage month. Look in the hallways and on your emails for more I'm sure I forgot some people think. I'm all the staff are helpless not include. Julie aim Joni all you guys think you guys very much I'm we'll see you Monday thank you viewed gas for sticking around for and it's our hope is beneficial and think you guys again. Pioneer is you're nice people most of union ready. And them you know will be watching in the future entrance.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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