Latinx representation in publishing is improving every year but we still have a long way to go in seeing more Latinx talent in the industry including writing, illustration, book production, and more. As we know, there is often nothing more powerful than seeing characters like us in the pages of the books we love. But finally it seems our community is taking things into our own hands. Last week we saw the launch of The Latino Representation in Publishing Coalition (LRPC), a collective of seven Latinx-led organizations that will work to improve Latinx representation in the industry. This means advocating for change in what they’re publishing and how they hire Latinxs in company leadership and staff. The coalition is supported by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), who recently was instrumental in nominating 27 Latinx movies to the National Film Registry. The seven organizations involved in the LRPC include Dignidad Literaria, Latino Corporate Directors Association, Latinx in Publishing, The Latinx House, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, National Association of Latino Independent Producers, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, according to a press release from the National Hispanic Media Coalition.
“Latinos should have a place in publishing — from entry-level positions all the way to the c-suite. When Latinos don’t have a seat at the table where decisions about narratives in our textbooks and novels and newspapers and magazines are made, our stories are often ignored, told inaccurately, or riddled with harmful stereotypes, creating a black hole that allows bigotry to fester,” Congressman Joaquin Castro said in a statement. “The Latino Representation in Publishing Coalition is an important collaboration that will fight for Latino inclusion in the spaces we rightfully belong. With LRPC’s help, publishing can become a more diverse field that helps Americans understand who Latinos are and what we’ve contributed to this country.”
The coalition is a long-time coming but feels especially timely when book bans and information censoring are on the rise. According to a report commissioned by Castro and conducted by the United States Government Accountability Office, the Latinx community makes up 20 percent of the U.S. population but only accounts for 8 percent of publishing employees across the industry. In response to this startling statistic, the seven organizations wrote a letter to the top publishing companies in the country, known as the Big 5 which includes Penguin/Random House, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster.
and Macmillan. They demanded more transparency in their DEIA practices and that they hire more Latinx talent, not just its authors but also its book production staff. Since its formation, the LRPC has met or will meet with the CEOs of the top publishing companies in the country to work on implementing tangible steps to increase Latinx representation and visibility in their business model.
As the coalition “is rooted in the belief that authentic representation in publishing is vital, especially when literary narratives are utilized for educational or entertainment purposes,” we’re looking forward to seeing what the LRPC will accomplish and what changes will be implemented in the industry thanks to their advocacy.