When it comes to defending migrants' rights, spreading awareness for farmworker women and standing up for the Latinx community, Mónica Ramírez is at the top of most of these movements. The civil rights attorney and activist never stops amazing us with her strives for positive change. Adding to her list of powerful initiatives comes The Latinx House. According to its website, “The Latinx House is dedicated to bringing together art and activism to build power, as well as skills, within the Latinx community by creating a space for community members to come together to share strategies for improving the economic, political and social well-being of the Latinx community.”
During their second annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in partnership with TIME'S UP, HOLA! USA had the opportunity to chat with Mónica about her latest project, and how she unexpectedly found support in the entertainment industry with the help of America Ferrera, Diane Guerrero, Olga Segura and many more.
Keep reading to learn more about The Latinx House and what's in store for its future!
HOLA! USA: What are your thoughts of today and then this big launch? How do you feel?
Mónica Ramírez: "Today was magic, electrifying, but I also feel like it speaks to the hunger that people have about getting information. Just getting informed on basic ways that people can be involved and then there's the hunger of unity. One of the challenges in our community to unite is that we are geographically dispersed, we are ethnically different, we speak different languages, and we have multiple identities. Our culture is very rich, but we don't have a singular identity as some other communities. So you hear people are yearning for that. I feel like that, especially after this event. People have been coming up to me and they've been saying, 'I feel so full; this is exactly what I needed.' To me that says we're on the right track when it comes to the LatinX house because our goal is to bring people together and to learn from each other. We had organizers in the room, we had community organizational leaders in the room, we had these incredible, phenomenal, well-known actresses in the room, and we all have the same goal. That makes me feel that the Latinx House in many ways is what our community has been asking for. We care about politics and policy, but we also want activation, not just talking. Then we also care deeply about culture shift, narrative, entertainment and art."
I was saying earlier, social media is great but coming together and brainstorming is even better.
"You're exactly right. I think that what is distinct and what was said earlier about what's different about this moment is the way that we're building together. From the very beginning, when America and I started working together on TIME'S UP — we didn't want a transactional relationship, we wanted a deep relationship where we could really figure out how to build together, and that's what this is. People came together, and they're forming deep relationships or thinking about ideas of what's next? Because for our community, we cannot be on the surface. We have to go deep because we're dealing with critical, systemic and institutional change and policy change that was needed decades ago, right? That is what we're trying to deal, transform. We need the relationships to be deep, we need them to be meaningful and we need them to be strategic."
Absolutely. Who's been the most surprising person to reach out to you and say, I want to help?
"That's hard to say because honestly, every single person who's involved in entertainment has been kind of surprising because I had never had any relationship or connection to anyone in entertainment. In many ways Hollywood felt just really far away. We had no reason to think we would ever have a relationship with anyone like Hollywood. When I got the call from America, that was a pretty important moment."
These women are really going above and beyond to use their platforms.
"Yes, that's also how I feel. I've also been very analytical — and critical about how I think people have gotten Hollywood wrong. I have learned from spending time with these women and with these other folks in the industry that they need people to understand they are not putting their name behind an issue because it's just something an organization said to do. These are the issues that impact their lives. Diane is this incredible actress. She's so committed to the community, and she's so engaged. I know that if I were to call or text her or ask her for anything to help the community, she would 100% do it if she could, just like with any of the other folks you saw today. In addition, Diane has had a life experience that is unique in this industry, but it's not unique to thousands of children across our country, and she's been able to use your voice to speak to that."
Interview by Alisandra Puliti