For Afro-Latinas who rarely saw themselves on television growing up, there is great news: Univision is welcoming Ilia Calderón as the new co-anchor, alongside Jorge Ramos, for the evening newscast, Noticiero Univision. She is going to be replacing longtime anchor Maria Elena Salinas, who has had the job for over 30 years. Calderón isn’t just making history at Univision, as Forbes points out, she’s “making history as the first Afro-Latina to anchor a weekday primetime newscast for a major broadcast network in the United States.” Period.
Her predecessor and the iconic anchor, Salinas, took to social media to congratulate Calderón, posing for a powerful selfie together and saying: “Happy that my dear and beautiful colleague @iliacalderon takes command of Noticiero Univision. Not only a great journalist and a good mother but with a great sensitivity to the needs of our Hispanic community. Proud of you dear Illi!”
According to Latina, this is not the first time that Calderón has been a “first.” Calderón’s career first began in her native Colombia, where she anchored a local newscast in Medellín. Afterwards, her career took her to become the first Black woman to ever host Noticieco CMI, a national news program in her country. She moved to Miami in 2001 and became Telemundo’s first Black anchor when the network launched a weekend newscast. In 2007, she joined Univision for its Primer Impacto weekend edition and was later promoted to co-host of its weekday slot.
On Monday, December 11th, Calderón will debut in her new role after finishing up her current gig as the co-anchor of Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna. The Emmy Award-winning journalist spoke with Forbes about her new job, saying: “I’m happy, but at the same time, a little nervous. I’m so honored they gave me this amazing opportunity. It’s an enormous responsibility to sit in Maria Elena’s chair because she has kept the highest standards in journalism.”
Univision will continue to work with a great journalist who isn’t afraid to do difficult stories, such as interviews with KKK members earlier this year that garnered her national attention when a video clip surfaced with Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Chris Barker calling her a “n*gger” and a “mongrel.”
At least Univision News’ president, Daniel Coronell, seems to think so. In a statement, he said: “Ilia’s professionalism and experience, together with her personal charisma, journalistic integrity, knowledge of the U.S. Hispanic community and proven appeal with our diverse audience make her the ideal person to succeed Maria Elena Salinas.”
Calderón doesn’t plan to let anything get in her way, especially not racism. Instead, she focuses on the positive, telling Forbes that she thinks it’s a plus.
“As a journalist working for Univision, we have bigger responsibilities now in this country when racism and discrimination is coming to the surface,” she said. “My role today as Black Hispanic immigrant will be to scrutinize who’s in power and to be more vigilant of civil and human rights for all our viewers. I think this is also a great opportunity to show girls that are starting and attending college to do what I do today, that they too can make it. Keep up the hard work and dreams and one day you will succeed.”
People on Twitter were equally thrilled to see Calderón’s promotion.
Sabes Ilia te admire como fuiste a entrevistar a los miembros o jefes del Klanes supremacía blanca! ahí bien firme tú
— Mar Lourdes Gala (@galaernertina) November 9, 2017
— Will Rodriguez (@WRod17) November 9, 2017
She is deserving of this job. She is a terrific journalist.
— Christopher Aparicio (@Christo31624404) November 9, 2017
MUCHAS FELICIDADES ILIA Y SE LO TIENE MUY MERECIDO DIOS LA BENDIGA Y MUCHOS EXITOS MAS 🙏👐🙌❤
— Evangelina Hernandez (@Evahdz416) November 9, 2017
— Lukas Málaga (@davmalaga) November 9, 2017