Omission of Latinos on Influential List Symptom of Larger Issue

Hartford Magazine’s 50 Most Influential People list is being questioned for the omission of Latinos.

Social media has been abuzz in recent days with Central CT Latinos fuming over the omission of Latinos on this year’s list of influential people published in the December issue of Hartford Magazine. The exclusion has opened old wounds for many who over the years have noticed Latinos in the state regularly left out of such lists as well as from other high profile positions.
Marilda Gándara, former president of the Aetna Foundation, a member of UConn’s Board of Trustees and one of the few Latinos who has made such lists, echoes the sentiment of many others who view these omissions as part of a larger societal issue.  Gándara says, “While for the first time in this past election Latinos were visible in a significant way, Latinos continue to be invisible in many other areas, look at corporate boards, public television and radio, the list goes on,”
Gándara adds, “Latinos are invisible even in high profile presentations like the Connecticut Forum. When organizers are putting together a panel, they routinely think of including an African American voice, a female voice, and don’t often think about a Latino voice.”
Many media outlets often publish such lists similar to  Hartford Magazine’s list of influential people, which solicits nominations from readers and asks people in the know for their suggestions to develop their lists. In an e-mail statement to CTLatinoNews Opinion Columnist Bessy Reyna, who offers her view in CTLatinoNews on this specific omission, a Hartford Magazine spokesperson said they select the people “without consideration of the person’s race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.”
Rich Hanley, director of the Graduate Journalism Program at Quinnipiac University says, “The failure to include Latinos in the list of the top 50 influential people in the Hartford area reflects a demographically inert perspective but one that doesn’t seem deliberately constructed that way.” Rather, he believes institutional shortsightedness is largely the reason. “Existing social networks of business and non-profit organizations from which list members are generally selected is culturally behind the times and needs to embrace a broader definition of influence,” he says.
Hartford businesswoman Joyce Bolanos has a different take on why Latinos are not included on the high profile lists and programs. She says Latinos have to be more assertive and make their presence known. “I truly believe that we Latinos must make changes from within. We have to join organizations that not only influence Latinos but organizations that make economic and social impact for humanity as a whole. That is how we can gain influence and can be recognized by everyone, not just Latinos.”
Other Latinos are just frustrated with the dearth of what they see as the ongoing lack recognition of Latinos. Yanil Teron, executive director of the Center for Latino Progress in Hartford, is one of many who vented on Facebook. She wondered whether it is systemic discrimination or Latino invisibility. She wrote, “It is hard to believe in a community with an increasing Latino population that not a single successful Latino is on the list of the 50 most influential in Greater Hartford.”


12 thoughts on “Omission of Latinos on Influential List Symptom of Larger Issue

  1. Thank you for covering this topic and for including comments from a couple of our opinion leaders. I agree that we are still invisible, that was reflected in the strategies followed by the two parties in the election, one ignoring us and the other one courting our votes. I also think we need to be proactive and participate, promote and declare that we are here to stay and make a difference.

  2. There are not enough words and space in this column to describe the” Latino Condition” But I whole heartedly agree with Joyce Bolanos that we must make ourselves more assertive in our social environment. Become more envolved in everything!

  3. I’m talking about all Latinos male or female should involve themselves in issues and concerns in the community…not token individuals who will speak for you!…”we’re back to the”ay Bendito sea Dios” syndrome…l …

  4. To be an influential person, one must be able to spark some sort of change in the society. You are influential because you can change something in people. You are influential because you have the power to cause a change in what’s existing.
    It is very disturbing to have seen the “LUPA list ” of Influential Latinos in the Hartford area. Most are the same old, same old group of Latinos that have not caused any change in our community for the better; otherwise we would not be in this position today if they had made any positive changes.
    We criticize that the owner of the media conglomerate that owns Hartford Magazine was mentioned and yet we DO THE SAME by putting Hector Bauza on the LUPA List! Wilson Camelo who is one of the founders of LUPA is one of the executives of Bauza. Conflict of interest? And while some have merit on the list there are at least 10 others that are in his click that work with them and are clients!
    Nothing changes if nothing changes! HAY BENDITO sea DIOS!!!!!!!!

  5. It is disappointing to see the lack of Latino representation on the list. Besides active community involvement and pure growth in the Latino populations, I feel we must continue to proactive in our pursuits to further Latino higher education as well as create awareness among the various Non-Latino organizations and media of the many wonderful contributions that we are making to our community. This gets done one day at a time and with a commitment to be role models within our community’s. is one terrific way to keep the wonderful achievements and issues we are facing relevant and known.

  6. HAY BENDITO sea DIOS!!!! Once again we have an example Latinos bringing down Latinos. When will this crab syndrome end? We have enough problems and people like Hartford Magazine bringing us down that we don’t need it coming from our own. We always talk about “En La Union Esta La Fuerza” but then we see examples like this that look like personal attacks. Let’s celebrate the fact we have many Latinos and Latinas that influence Hartford. And, if you don’t agree with someone on the list, then nominate for the next one or create your own list. Throwing flechas is not the answer. YA BASTA!!

  7. I disagree…Hector should be included in that list for the reasons you just mentioned in your first paragraph. The fact that the entity that drafted the list is associated with Hector does not mean he should be excluded. Especially when it is the only entity that had the foresight and the ability to draft such list. Also, the fact there are “clients” in our list is a testament to our ability to draw influencers to work with us; this those not make them less worthy.
    Many things have change in our communities, more Latino women and men are graduating from college, are involve in politics, are involve in their communities making remarkable work. Don’t feel disturbed,the fact that these women and men keep making honorable lists is testament of how much we appreciate their accomplishments. Look beyond our differences and feel proud of who we are and how far we have come. Send us a list of who you think should be in the list to make sure we include them the next time around. Gracias,

  8. I find your comments disheartening in deed Rosalma, because instead of adding to the conversation, in a constructive way, you decided to criticize a great effort on the part of an organization that had all the best intentions in mind. Who generated the list, your personal opinion of who’s on the list, and, more important, how you think we should all “define” influential is less important than the fact that this entity took the time to rectify a wrong. You can vindicate yourself by adding something positive and adding names that you think should be on the list, and not the proverbial Latina crab in the bucket trying to pull the other Latinos down.
    Kudos to LUPA and to the Latinos mentioned on their list!

  9. Who even takes any of this seriously? Hartford Magazine is a disconnected, pathetic publication that does nothing to represent this city or the region. Please do not give it any credibility by treating it like a real magazine.

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