Univision’s Maria Salinas talks immigration, upcoming election at SOC event
Univision News anchor Maria Elena Salinas spoke Nov. 16 in the McKinley building about the issues faced by immigrants, the power of the Latino youth and the upcoming U.S. elections.
The event was organized by the School of Communication and the Kay Spiritual Life Center. Kay’s senior adjunct professorial lecturer Joseph Eldridge said that the goal of this event was to raise awareness and hopefully contribute a small part to the debate of immigration.
“I think Univision, to their credit, and Maria Elena, to her credit, are shining the spotlight on some of the real issues facing the Latino community in the United States,” Eldridge said.
Co-sponsors for this event included the Center for Latin America and Latino Studies, the Center for Community Engagement and Service and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
Salinas, a child of Mexican immigrants herself, started her career in 1981 at KMEX34 television, a local Spanish-speaking news station in her hometown of Los Angeles.
According to Salinas, the Spanish-speaking newscasts were very small and new at the time. However, she built her credibility through high-quality coverage of the Hispanic community. Her job with KMEX34 ultimately paved the way for her to assume the position as anchor chair at Univision.
Salinas discussed how the dynamics have changed regarding immigration and the assumptions around that debate. She also spoke about how political and foreign factors have affected immigrants in the United States, unifying them more than ever before.
“If there is one thing that unites us all, it’s the pride in our heritage,” Salinas said. “It’s our language but also our pride in our cultural heritage.”
Throughout the discussion, Salinas also emphasized the importance of young Latino voters and the growth in their voting numbers.
“The youth has the future of this country in their hands,” Salinas said. “There’s no more power that you can have than the power of the vote, and Latinos have that power.”
Students, such as Martha Sanchez and Gabriela Reyes, said Salinas brought messages of empowerment to campus.
“You should feel empowered [for] having the right to vote because that is the way you let those in office know that you represent those who do not have the right, or who are working towards that right,” Reyes said.
Sanchez said she watched Salinas on the news and enjoyed hearing her speak at AU.
“I grew up watching Maria Salinas and [co-anchor] Jorge Ramos all my life. I always admired how they were able to report what was happening in our countries in an hour,” Sanchez said.
School of Communication Dean Jeffrey Rutenbeck also said he felt that Salinas conveyed a message of action to the students who attended.
“I thought she delivered an inspiring message about how students can get involved to help change things,” Rutenbeck said.
Salinas further emphasized the importance of individualism and culture by telling the students to share their culture and the stories of their ancestors to the world.
“You are the storytellers, and you have the stories,” said Salinas, “You have the stories of your parents, the struggle of your parents and your grandparents, and you have your own personal stories of what you guys have achieved.”