Latinx have long fought for representation in the media but another facet of representation is recognition and this year TIME has launched a new list focused on advocates, artists, leaders, and innovators who are rising stars in helping to shape the future. The TIME 100 Next list includes 13 Latinx including artists Camila Cabello and Bad Bunny, as well as activists like environmentalist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado Quesada.
According to the publication, all those featured on the list have “grand ambitions” and are aware of the setbacks they’ll face but “they are driven by hope,” TIME executive editor Dan Macsai, who oversees the TIME 100 franchise said. ‘They are eager to defy the odds — and fight for a better future.”
Read on to learn about the empowered and inspiring Latinx featured on this list and learn about Latinx leaders you hadn’t heard of before in addition to some familiar faces.
Camila Cabello’s success this past year is largely thanks to her megahit “Havana” off her debut album Camila. In 2018, the Cuban-Mexican singer made history when she became the first artist to top the Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Top 40 airplay charts with the first two singles from a debut studio album (“Havana” and “Never Be the Same”). “In times like these, when noise can distort the purity of an artist’s message, Camila has managed to honor her story and her background in an authentic way with her pop music. The impact of her songs — from “Havana” and “Señorita” to “Shameless” and “Liar” — has opened the door so that the world can see and hear the massive potential of the Latin music community,” singer Alejandro Sanz wrote.
The Dominican actor made history when he won became the first Afro-Latino to win an Emmy award for his role as Korey Wise in the Netflix limited series When They See Us. “Watching Jharrel Jerome film scenes for When They See Us and witnessing his well-deserved win at the Emmys — he took home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie — was like a life-after-death experience for me. Jharrel was my reincarnation. He didn’t just play my younger self; he represented the little Korey inside of me. It was a dream come true. I hope he will continue to grow in his success,” Wise wrote.
Mj Rodriguez — who is of Puerto Rican descent — plays the fierce Blanca on the FX hit series Pose and it’s through this acclaimed role that she’s been able to break barriers and make history as a trans actress. This year she became the first openly transgender woman to win for best TV actress at the Imagen Awards. She became the first trans WOC to play Audrey in a major production of Little Shop of Horrors and she just became the first trans Latinx to be the face of Olay. “There are not a lot of people who can sing and dance and act as well as Mj does all these things, but she also has the capacity to bring something so deep and truthful to a work, which needs to be honored and celebrated. Mj is blazing a trail that the world doesn’t yet fully comprehend, but time will show that she is truly a force of nature,” fellow trans actress Laverne Cox wrote.
Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio — better known as Bad Bunny — developed a reputation for killing it in collaborations with artists including Cardi B, J Balvin, and Drake but he finally went out on his own in late 2018 with his debut album, x 100pre. The trap/reggaeton album just won a Latin Grammy for best urban music album, leaving fans anxiously waiting for what’s next for the Puerto Rican star. “Benito is also outspoken and unafraid when it comes to social conscience and political issues, as seen this past summer when he put his tour on pause to participate in the protests that led to Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation. I truly admire his commitment to help bring awareness to topics affecting not only our island, but the world. He shows up when it matters most, and makes sacrifices for what he believes is right in his heart. No matter what,” Ricky Martin wrote.
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JD’s executive director Alexandra Rojas left Connecticut after graduating high school in 2013 and set out for California, eagerly seeking independence. She was attending community college and participating in on-campus political organizations when Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2015. After learning she wasn’t eligible for in-state university tuition, Rojas went “all-in” on politics and hit the road as part of the Sanders campaign, driving across the country and hosting events en route to Vermont. She went on to become the executive director of Justice Democrats, a progressive political action committee founded by former members of the Sanders campaign. More here: http://coveteur.com/2018/10/23/women-in-politics-talk-2018-midterm-elections/
Alexandra Rojas, 24, is the executive director of Justice Democrats, an organization that supports a multi-racial and progressive group of lawmakers and in 2018 they helped the women of The Squad — AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — get elected. “We want to see solutions that match the scale and the urgency of the crises we’re facing and actually invest in American ingenuity and creativity like we haven’t been able to see. Our generation is counting on it. Our generation can’t afford for anything less than putting forward an actual plan to fix America and not just responding to the Republicans,” she told Elle magazine.
Hip-hop artist and activist Xiuhtezcatl Matrinez, 19, is the youth director at Earth Guardians, an environmental activist organization his mom founded in 1992, which has helped youth in more than 60 countries build environmental and social justice movements. Martinez is of Aztec descent and was raised with traditions of Mexica, one of the native peoples of México. His efforts have brought the impact of the fossil fuel industry on indigenous communities to the forefront in the political agendas of lawmakers, according to Mary Robinson, chair of the Elders, a group of global leaders advocating for peace, justice, and human rights. “I’m super passionate about climate justice as a lens through which we view the world and every other issue that matters to us, from indigenous rights to racial and social justice, to economic justice,” he told DoSomething.
Carlos Alvarado Quesada
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Participaré en el evento #TIME100Next Summit de la Revista @time. Este es un reconocimiento a todo un país, a todas las personas que a lo largo y ancho de Costa Rica hacen que brillemos en materia ambiental, en materia de democracia, en materia de derechos humanos y en materia de paz. Es una gran oportunidad para que los ojos del mundo se vuelvan a posar sobre Costa Rica. Nos invitaron por nuestro compromiso con el legado de nuestros abuelos y por hacer lo necesario para proteger el futuro de nuestros hijos e hijas. 🇨🇷 📸 Créditos @scandebergs para @time
Carlos Alvarado Quesada is Costa Rica’s 48th president and since he took office in 2018, he’s focused on decarbonizing their economy with a goal of achieving zero net emissions by the year 2050. “Costa Rica is a small country, but its President, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, has shown great ambition in tackling the climate crisis. He recognizes the need to confront this existential challenge with innovative and urgent action. This year, the U.N. recognized Costa Rica’s trailblazing approach and ambitious climate policies with its highest environmental honor, naming it a U.N. Champion of the Earth,” Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the U.N. and the deputy chair of the Elders.
Francis Suarez is the first Miami-born mayor of Miami, following in his father’s footsteps who was elected as the first Cuban-born mayor of Miami in 1985. “A Miami native, Francis is a passionate advocate for the community he represents. While his efforts to solve the big problems — everything from sea-level resilience to solutions to gun violence— are clear, I personally witnessed his commitment to solving problems that fly under the radar when we visited public-housing complexes together in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio wrote.
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Congratulations to our very own, Vanessa Luna, for being named on the inaugural #TIME100NEXT, highlighting rising stars in their field! This honor features Vanessa’s experience as a former DACAmented teacher, her leadership & our collective efforts & impact as an immigrant led organization to transform schools into the safe spaces our immigrant students and families deserve. This recognition shows the power of our immigrant community and the need for solutions to be immigrant led. Congratulations to Vanessa & all honorees! Check out this recognition: https://time.com/collection/time-100-next-2019/5718837/vanessa-luna/#immigrantswegetthejobdone
Brooklynite Vanessa Luna came to the U.S. at 10-years-old from Peru and the experience of growing up undocumented has influenced every aspect of her life and inspired her to for advocate for undocumented immigrants. In 2014, she became a DACAmented teacher through Teach for America and she’s the co-founder and chief program officer of the non-profit ImmSchools, which provides 1000 educators the training needed to support undocumented students and their families. She has served as a founding member of Teach For America DACA Advisory board and has taught in Los Angeles and New York. In their first year, 960 students and their families participated in programs including know your rights workshops and according to TIME, they’ll have worked with 1000 educators this year. “It shouldn’t be luck that an undocumented student gets what they need in school,” she told the magazine.
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#TIME100next 🌟 . Realmente esto es en nombre de todos los jóvenes venezolanos y de todos los venezolanos que siguen negados a rendirse. . Por aquellos que no nos acompañan porque se encuentran a kms de distancia, aquellos que no están físicamente, aquellos que están encerrados en una celda. . Esto no solo lo recibe Rafaela, lo reciben todos aquellos que me han llevado hasta donde estoy, a cada palabra de aliento, cada aplauso, cada abrazo, cada consejo, cada mensaje… lo reciben quienes han estado presentes de alguna u otra forma, en una marcha, en un foro, en una asamblea, en un salón. Esto también es de ustedes. . El camino no ha sido fácil, pero les puedo decir que ha valido la pena cada esfuerzo que estamos dando, cada granito de arena que aportamos día a día es lo que hoy nos lleva a donde estamos. Y hoy nos llevó a formar parte de un grupo de “estrellas en ascenso”. ¡Qué responsabilidad la que tenemos! . Sin duda, la juventud venezolana ha demostrado que pase lo que pase no nos rendimos. Y seguiremos haciendo todo lo que tengamos que hacer hasta lograr lo que toda Venezuela quiere…
Venezuelan activist Rafaela Requesens, 27, is known for her political activism and became a prominent figure of the 2017 Venezuelan protests against President Maduro’s government along with her brother Juan Requesens. She and her brother were arrested in 2018 and he was charged with orchestrating a drone attack on Maduro though no proof was provided and no trial date has been announced, according to TIME. “I won’t say there aren’t times that I lose heart,” she told the magazine, “but I get back up again because that’s what [my brother] taught me.”
Congresswoman Tabata Amaral is the federal deputy for São Paulo and she’s a member of the Democratic Labor Party in Brazil but the 26-year-old is thinking beyond bipartisan politics. The Harvard grad is known for her criticism of Education Minister Ricardo Vélez and President Jair Bolsonaro but is now focusing on fixing Brazil’s biggest problems, like the lack of adults with a high school diploma by thinking outside the box, according to TIME. “There is so much between left and right, especially in a moment that is so polarized, and in a world that is so complex with all the new technologies. We have to find a way in between,” she told the magazine.
Jess Morales Rocketto
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I’m not interested in a revolution if I can’t wear star crowns. 🤩 Thanks to all the lovely people who let me borrow the sparkle for #Time100Next. 🥰 #### Dress: @vincecamuto Tiara + Earrings: @jenniferbehr Makeup: @cateurena Hair: @thedrybar Shoes: @remixvintageshoes Bag: @rachelcomey Stylist: @sarahsophief, your neighborhood fairy godmother. Thank you, my friend. 🧡
Jess Morales Rocketto is the executive director of Care in Action and political director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the chair of their feminist campaign for immigration reform, We Belong Together. She’s been involved in political campaigns and was the woman behind the digital organizing program for Hillary for America. “Faced with the crisis at the border, Jess helped lead efforts to reunite every child with their loved ones. And after witnessing the power of women’s activism, she helped launch Supermajority, an organization dedicated to gender equity. She is not only tireless — she is fearless. Dolores Huerta said, ‘Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.’ Jess embodies those words. I can’t wait to see how she continues to make the most of every moment,” Hillary Clinton wrote.
— The City University of New York (@CUNY) November 14, 2019
Peruvian innovator Silvia Caballero was a pioneer in discovering certain organisms in the human gut that can help fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria and is working to identify bacteria that can effectively control three potentially lethal bacterial strains often found in hospitals and nursing homes. She’s working to begin clinical studies with a drug that features the bacterial cocktail she identified to combat these strains in 2021, according to the MIT Technology Review. She’s now working for Vedanta Biosciences in Massachusetts, at the helm of the company’s multi-drug-resistant organism decolonization program, aiming to take her work with mice into human studies.