Arriving at Univision's handsome Southwestern campus in Phoenix, I wasn't sure what to expect. Every media meeting we do is different, and media professionals can sometimes feel anxious about discussing coverage with an advocacy organization.
An hour after arriving, I was standing in the middle of a large conference room with over 20 of Phoenix's top television and radio producers, writers and on-air talent feeling very optimistic. Community Relations & Public Affairs Director Gerardo Higginson, who organized the training, had invited not only Univision producers and reporters but also professionals from other local Spanish-language television stations as well as radio station producers and talent and community members.
Looking around the room I realized that, through their various media platforms, this group reached millions of Latinos living in Arizona. And their connection with viewers and listeners is a strong and important one. Media is a powerful tool for culture change, in part, because media professionals have a trusted role in people's lives. Radio personalities working in any language accompany and entertain listeners every day and become a trusted source of information, as do television reporters.
We talked about employment discrimination, about hate crimes and the 'gay panic defense,' about bullying, marriage equality and the violence and discrimination faced by Latino transgender men and women. It was an interesting and lively dialogue followed by lots of insightful questions that left me feeling inspired and confident by how committed these Spanish-language media professionals are to doing more than ever to help share the stories of LGBT people in Arizona.