March 23, 2021

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is frustrated with the lack of Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in the Biden administration, and on Tuesday she said it'll cost them her vote on "all non-diversity nominees" until they reverse course and select Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for key executive branch positions.

President Biden has made a point of trying to create a diverse Cabinet, but Duckworth has criticized its makeup, noting that none of the 15 secretaries are of Asian or Pacific Island descent. Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai are both Asian American and hold Cabinet-level positions, but they are not considered Cabinet secretaries, Axios notes.

Duckworth, who is of Asian descent, said the lack of representation is "not acceptable" and she'll withhold her vote for Biden's judicial and sub-Cabinet nominees for now, but "hopefully they figure it out." Duckworth did say she will support nominees backed by the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus, however.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who is also of Asian descent, said she's considering following Duckworth's lead. Read more at Axios. Tim O'Donnell

August 26, 2019

A study released Monday by the University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative reports on the dismal state of Latinx representation in a survey of the top grossing films of the last decade.

Out of the 1,200 films surveyed from 2007 to 2018, only 3 percent of leading roles went to Latinx characters. Only 17 of those roles were for women, and actress Cameron Diaz (who has Cuban roots) accounted for 5 of 17.

(Courtesy Annenberg Inclusion Initiative)

Leading roles aside, things didn't look any better for speaking parts in general.

Out of a total 47,268 characters, Latinx characters started out the decade with 3 percent of speaking roles and ended at 5 percent, without much demonstrated evidence of continued increase.

(Courtesy Annenberg Inclusion Initiatve)

The Latinx population in the U.S. leverages its $1.7 trillion in spending power to represent 23 percent of all movie tickets sales in the country. Given this information, the authors of the report wrote "It is surprising that the motion picture industry fails to court [the Latinx community] as a viable audience for their stories." Read the full report at USC Annenberg. Cyrena Touros

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