March for Equality
Activists seeking to block diversity programs have sued big companies such as Comcast, Progressive and Starbucks. Elting

Aquí: The Accountability Project is a new nonprofit organization that vows to keep companies accountable to their diversity commitments made during Hispanic Heritage Month.

The group launched in mid-October by releasing a Spanish ad titled "Y Ahora Qué?" (What Now?).

The minute-long video highlights the economic and cultural contributions Latinos make to the U.S. but calls out the lack of representation of Latinos in positions of power like in company boardrooms. According to a 2022 study from the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LDCA), Latino representation in boardrooms has seen minimal increases over the last few years. Currently, 4.4 percent of board seats are occupied by Latinos in Fortune 500 companies, even though the demographic represents almost 20 percent of the general population.

"Recognizing our community just once a year is not enough because we are a driving force today and the future of this country. It's time for accountability," says another passage of the ad.

Aquí is led by Nathaly Arriola Maurice, a political strategist who has served under two presidential administrations as a Special Assistant and Director of Partnerships for the White House.

It wasn't immediately clear how Aquí will work to hold companies accountable. However, according to Arriola Maurice, the organization will partner with companies to analyze their diversity efforts and push them to position more Latinos in board seats and other influential positions where they can make significant contributions to the company and the economy.

"We want to be fair players, we want to build relationships with them. But we will be asking for receipts and figuring out what kind of investments they are making," Arriola Maurice told the Latin Times. "We're now contributing $3.4 trillion to the US economy, and we're still not seen as important; we're not in boardrooms and we're not in leadership roles."

Aqui is also partnering with other nonprofit organizations to tackle other issues affecting the Latino community, such as anti-Latino rhetoric.

Latinos are frequent targets of political ads that promote xenophobia and can create anti-immigration sentiment. According to a survey from Brookings, that type of rhetoric often makes Latinos feel angry, anxious or scared.

"It's about all structures of power, and those structures of power live everywhere, whether it's in corporations, news media or the government," said Arriola Maurice. "We want to be additive to the partners already in the ecosystem and working on those campaigns. So we will be helping amplify some of that work."

Aquí board members include influential Latinos such as José Calderón, CEO of Calderon Solutions, Francela Chi de Chinchilla, an independent consultant, Jacqueline Martinez Garcel CEO of the Latino Community Foundation, Amanda Renteria, CEO of Code for America and Héctor Sánchez Barba, CEO of Mi Familia Vota.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.