Alex Nogales

Alex Nogales

Alex Nogales, the president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), knows too well the detrimental effects racial discrimination has on U.S.-born Latinos. He remembers vividly the moment his father was told “his kind was not welcomed” by a clerk at a California hotel when the family stopped on their return home after picking fruit along the California coast. The experience was the fuel for the work he would do later in life—advocating for the nation’s marginalized, underserved and underprivileged Latino and immigrant communities.

In 1986, he co-founded NHMC to address the problem of underrepresentation and misrepresentation of American Latinos in media. He is a civil rights and media advocacy leader whose mission is to increase Latino stories and voices in film, television, radio and newspapers, as well as the internet. Alex knows the way Latinos are perceived is how they are treated.

In 1999, Alex and the Multi-Ethnic Media Coalition, a national group representing communities of color, were responsible for negotiating the first-ever memorandums of understanding with all four major U.S. television networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. The historic agreements included hiring the new position of vice president of diversity who would advocate for increased representation of qualified actors, writers and directors of color, as well as appointing racially diverse boards and expanding procurement opportunities for women and minorities.

In the summer and fall of 2018, Alex led a national, successful boycott against Paramount Pictures, protesting the studio’s lack of diversity in its films. In early 2019, as a response to mounting pressure from the press and the NHMC, Paramount announced a historic initiative—the first since it was founded 105 years ago—to promote diversity across employment, storylines, crew, and shooting locations in its film, television and animated projects. Alex has also helped expand and direct NHMC’s legal team to advocate for telecommunications policies in Washington that advance the digital rights of Latinos.

“I come from a generation that saw signs that said, ‘No dogs or Mexicans allowed.’ That was the lowly perception of American Latinos in those days, and I’ve worked the majority of my life to change negative perceptions in media because that is where people get their beliefs as to who we are, what we are and what we are worth. Media must be fair, inclusive and free of bias if American Latinos and other minority groups are to prosper at the same rate as our white counterparts. I’ve helped move the needle in that direction, but there is still much more to do, and it will take the leadership of our young people to accelerate the process. It can never again be that ‘dogs’ are equated with our Latino parents and children.”  –Alex Nogales