By: Izabella Grimaldo
A voice that isn’t “ni de aqui ni de alla”- not from here nor there, but from both- María Elena Salinas is one of the best-known news anchors in broadcast journalism. Having immeasurable amounts of experiences with Univision allowed her to develop as a professional and as an individual to showcase the passion she had, which later became her duty to fulfill.
Salinas spent almost four decades at Univision as an anchor and reporter where she showcased the issues, heroes and sheroes the Hispanic community in the U.S had to offer. In 2019, after her time at Univision, she became a news contributor to CBS News, highlighting issues that emphasized the importance of the Latino vote throughout the country.
A pioneer in her field, Salinas assures she is not lonely at the top and is only accompanied by the best: her colleagues and her community. She has paved the way to further expand the narrative of Latinos in the U.S through her duty and passion.
“It’s not lonely at the top because they have a lot of people, especially journalists that have done great things…I think we’re all committed to our community. That’s just something that’s innate enough,” said Salinas.
She was raised in a family that was a reflection of the millions of working-class individuals in Southern California. Salinas held on to the constant narrative a lot of Chicanos hold onto- ni de aqui ni de alla– not from one place or the other. The reality is you won’t ever fit into just one community, you will always fit in two. Which makes you twice more of whatever you want to be, twice as smart, twice as hardworking, and twice as talented.
The story of Latinos in the U.S has evolved so much over time, from a growing population to our stories that unfold over time.
“I think that we have made a mark in this country, as a Latino community. But not enough yet. I think there’s so much more room for growth, because one of the challenges that we have going forward is that we are the largest minority in the country. We are the second largest voting bloc in the country. Yet sometimes we’re treated as if we were foreigners in our own country,” said Salinas.
To search for normality means assimilating and accommodating to a country that dims the light of others. Your duty as a journalist is to create a platform and advocate for those lights to be at least a little brighter.
“I know that for years, we were accused of advocacy journalism, as if advocacy journalism was something bad. And it’s not. Because it’s one thing to be an activist. Another thing is to be an advocate. People don’t realize it, but when you advocate for something, if you cover women’s issues, you’re advocating for women,” said Salinas, “So what is the difference between advocating for your community? It’s a much larger group, of course, but I think it’s important to do so. And I don’t think that there is anything wrong with advocacy journalism, with pointing out our trials and tribulations in the media. It’s not something that we should be ashamed of, on the contrary, I think it’s something that we should be proud of.”
The topic of having pride was and always will be a point of conversation among all U.S born Latinos, especially those who have had the opportunity to advance within their community. The tradition of carrying your pride in everything you do is dependent on those who have done it for far more years. As they build this tradition, they build a platform for younger generations to gain the confidence to continue. Making it easier to say- no eres de aqui ni de allá, pero de los dos– y con orgullo.
“Use your voice, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough and don’t be afraid. That’s one of the best pieces of advice that I can give is don’t give up because fear paralyzes us…Just think what would you do if you weren’t afraid? And just think of the possibilities. Échale ganas, go for it, y no te dejes. Never allow anyone to tell you that you are not good enough or smart enough. Because you are,” said Salinas.