The yearly TIME “100 Most Influential People” list has been released, and as usual, it’s a little light on Latinos for our liking – only about 7 out of the 100 are Latino – even though we compromise an astonishing 55 million of the population in the U.S. as of 2014, according to the U.S. Census.
Among the Latino movers and shakers who made the list are athletes, singers and politicians. The coolest part of the list is that those chosen are written about by their peers, who themselves are influential in their industry.
Here are the 7 Latinos who made it to the list:
1. Demi Lovato, singer and activist, was written up by CEO and founder of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington.
She writes specifically of Lovato’s strength, having grown up in the spotlight and coming to terms with issues around her physical and emotional well being, all while being fierce and an activist. It really does sound like Huffington respects her hustle.
“After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, instead of hiding it she partnered with Be Vocal, a campaign devoted to getting people to speak up about mental illness and the stigma around it. She has also been a public role model, unashamedly chronicling her struggles with substance abuse (she is now five years sober) and eating disorders. And having been bullied as a child, Demi has taken up the cause to protect other children.Demi Lovato is a remarkably talented artist and performer. But her courage, honesty and willingness to use her own experiences to help others are what make her a true star.” – Arianna Huffington for TIME
2. Neymar, the international soccer star, had the honor of being written about by fellow footballer, David Beckham.
Beckham mentioned seeing the two in pictures as Neymar was just starting out and the progression he’s made, going from a 17 year old boy to the next “best player in the world,” with the hopes and dreams of Brazil on his shoulders.
“…it also shows the remarkable progression of a young man who at 25 is well on his way to becoming the best player in the world. It’s been clear ever since he signed for Brazilian team Santos at 17 that Neymar is an outstanding talent, a once-in-a-generation type of footballer who has fans on their feet whenever he gets the ball. I’ve always been struck by his humility. He’s respectful and wants to learn…” – David Beckham for TIME
3. Tom Perez, the Democratic Party chair, was written up by former democratic Vice Presidential candidate, Tim Kane.
Tim Kane spared no expense flowering Perez with all the compliments of a good friend. Bringing up his Dominican heritage, Catholic background and patriotic family history (his father served in the army) to paint a picture of a man he thinks has all the skills to do a very tough job: lead the Democrats in a time where they seem more divided than ever.
“Prosecutor, civil rights lawyer, local elected official, Secretary of Labor, loving dad and husband, and now chairman of the Democratic National Committee—Tom’s the right person to lead the world’s longest-surviving political party during a stress test of our constitutional democracy. And he’s smart enough to see that the key to victory is the passion of everyday people. He’s one himself.” – Tim Kane for TIME
4. Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, got a write up by Íngrid Betancourt, who survived kidnapping while running for president of Colombia herself in 2002.
Betancourt praised Santos’ ability to find common ground with adversaries by not seeing them as foes or enemies. She says he sees them as just people with whom you could reason and bring in to the conversation, instead of annoyances to be gotten rid of.
“Last year Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to the Colombian government’s 50-year war with FARC. And while I watched him accept it, I remembered the words he said to me back in 1992. Indeed he had been adding—bringing together friends and enemies to achieve what once seemed impossible: peace. I pray that we in Colombia will live up to his legacy.” Íngrid Betancourt for TIME
5. Jeanette Vizguerra, an undocumented advocate for immigration reform, was written up by film and TV star, and immigration activist, America Ferrera.
Ferrera says of Vizguerra, whose story became public after seeking refuge in the basement of a Denver church, that her strength in the face of these issues is a reflection of the American dream. A dream that is currently under attack as I.C.E. and the government ramp up efforts to deport the undocumented. Ferrera talks about how Vizguerra started her own business and organized for undocumented worker’s rights all the while evading deportation for eight years.
“The current Administration has scapegoated immigrants, scaring Americans into believing that undocumented people like Jeanette are criminals. She came to this country not to rape, murder or sell drugs, but to create a better life for her family. She shed blood, sweat and tears to become a business owner, striving to give her children more opportunities than she had. This is not a crime. This is the American Dream.” – America Ferrera for TIME
6. Thelma Aldana, Attorney General of Guatemala, was written about by José Carlos Ugaz, an attorney and chair of the anticorruption group Transparency International.
Ugaz says that Aldana set an example that the world should follow: that elected officials serve the people and corruption shouldn’t be tolerated at any level of government. He discusses how she lead the charge to follow a line of corruption that went all the way up the ladder and got the president impeached and arrested. Maybe the U.S. should consider hiring her. We might know a guy who needs investigating…
“As Attorney General of Guatemala, Aldana uncovered a corrupt network within its customs agency siphoning off millions and involving every level of government… The trail led all the way to President Otto Pérez Molina, who was impeached and arrested and is now facing trial for fraud… Aldana showed that the rule of law can defeat corruption—even when it stretches to the highest office in the land. It’s a lesson every country should remember.” – José Carlos Ugaz for TIME
7. Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, a Peruvian lawyer and domestic violence activist whose own case of domestic violence encouraged large protests in Peru, was written about by Susanna Schrobsdorff a columnist for TIME.
“We have to support ourselves, us women, we have to support each other.”
Schrobsdorff tells a harrowing tale of how Bautista’s private life became public after footage of her being dragged by an ex was circulated online. She spoke openly about it after outrage broke out when he was given only a slap on the wrist. Her speaking about it, encouraged others to do the same and to join a movement of anti-violence happening all over South America.
‘Her case—and her willingness to speak publicly about it—helped propel thousands of women onto the streets of Lima that summer to protest gender violence… This was how the women of Peru joined the wider Ni Una Menos (“Not One Less”) movement sweeping across Latin America… a phrase coined by Mexican activist Susana Chávez, who was killed in 2011 after demanding that unsolved murders of women in Juárez be investigated. Over six years on from Chávez’s death, women like Contreras continue to speak out—even when the pursuit of justice can have dire consequences.’ – Susanna Schrobsdorff for TIME
What do you think about the TIME 100 most influential? What Latinos should have made the cut for you?