Interview: Jesús Veliz of The Chicano Post on Latin Politics, Media Representation and More
Youth for Positive Change had the privilege of speaking with Jesús Veliz of The Chicano Post about Latin politics, the need for media representation and where he sees himself - and The Chicano Post - in the future.
Recently, there has been discussion about how to refer to the Latino community. While some people opt for the standard “Latino,” alternatives such as “Latinx” and “Latine” have been thrown into the mix, with proponents saying this is a more progressive and gender-neutral way of referencing the community. Similarly, “Chicane/x” (an alternative spelling of “Chicano”) is gaining momentum. Do you think this is a useful linguistic change, or do you think the discussion around spelling detracts from other – arguably more pressing - conversations about Latino equality?
I believe that it is ultimately an individual decision, and people can amend their language as they see fit. When it comes to “Latinx/e,” I believe the change is acceptable and ultimately positive. However, it is important to understand the weight that comes with changing the term. Since, for years, systems of neglect and humiliation have been imposed on Latino communities, linguistic changes can only help so much: there is still a lot that needs to be done to help us gain the equity and respect we have been lacking for years.
A 2020 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that over 58% of Cuban-Americans identify as Republican. However, just under 30% of the non-Cuban Hispanic community identify as Republican. Why do you think there is such a discrepancy between the political affiliations of Cuban and non-Cuban Hispanics?
Even in Latin American countries, you see this kind of discrepancy. When it comes to progressive reform, large numbers of our community are scared of change. They have grown accustomed to promises of change and reform that end in disappointment and neglect. For instance, take the example of Cuba. It has been rightly censored as an authoritarian regime. However, this same regime offered benefits to its people, aid, and social sustainability. These are the same principles that are offered by progressive political parties. Unfortunately, some people fail to recognize that progressives are not advocating for authoritarianism; on the contrary, we are looking to build a system to support the disenfranchised and provide social sustainability. To achieve this we need to prioritize helping the people that have been let down the most. The great news is that more and more young people are aware of the discrepancies in wealth and opportunities that have limited the potential of our communities. These young people are coming together to help close the gap that limits our potential and crushes our spirit.
Who are some Chicano activists and changemakers you look up to?
Alexander Torres who is the founder of the Liberal Student Union in southern Texas is someone I look up to. As is Ernesto Nieto, the founder of the National Hispanic Institute, who has worked to create three internationally renowned youth leadership development programs. Another person I look up to is Michelle Rodrigues, an immigration attorney in Dallas and a professor at Southern Methodist University.
Does the mainstream media have a duty to start promoting Latino voices, in your opinion? And if so, how could they do it?
Absolutely, for far too long, the mainstream media has caused irreparable harm to minority communities by ignoring us and failing to let out voices be heard. It is the media’s responsibility to assess their role in the marginalization of the Latino communities and to begin to promote our stories with the same vigour that they used in the past to neglect our voices. It’s only when this happens that the generational boundaries set onto us Latinos will be broken.
What does the future hold for The Chicano Post? Is there any dream goal/opportunity you’d like to realize this year?
I guess one of our main goals is to find a sustainable means to support all the great work we do. The Chicano Post (TCHP) is founded and supported by high school students, so it is vitally important that we find viable ways to support the great work we do.
For anyone reading this who may be interested in learning more about our work, you can find us on:
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