Spark & Unity: Latina Trailblazer Who Fired Up Latinos to Vote

A Hollywood Actress Unified Latinos for Two Important U.S. Elections Way Before the Clinton, Sanders & Trump Phenomena

Latin Heat is proud to send a shout out to actress Julie Carmen for creating and producing  Latino Vote ‘92 and LatinA Vote ‘94 PSAs that were so effective, according to Antonio Gonzalez, President of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), “those two PSAs inspired a million Latinos to register and vote in California alone.” They both won CLIO Awards.

How she pulled it off is an amazing story.

Julie cast 108 Latinas in a 60-second spot that included a very young Jennifer Lopez, Bel Hernandez (Latin Heat Media Entertainment President), Nely Galan, Antonia Hernandez (Then MALDEF President), Leticia Quezada (Board of Education), Maria Elena Durazo (Local 11), newscasters Diane Diaz, Michele Ruiz, Paula Lopez, Linda Alvarez, Telaya, artist Patsi Valdez, writer Nancy de los Santos actors Liz Torres, Kamala Lopez, Ada Maris, Rachel Ticotin, Daphne Zuniga, Raquel Welch, Alma Martinez, Dyana Ortelli, Renee Victor, Ana Alicia, Seidy Lopez, Maty Munfort, Ivonne Coll, Rose Portillo, Loyda Ramos, and the late Lupe Ontiveros and Carmen Zapata.

Latin Heat spoke with the players who helped Julie put together Latino Vote ’92 and LatinA Vote ’94. Antonio Gonzalez stated, “Back then Public Service Announcements were still being shot on 16MM film. Julie approached our organization looking to raise the money because she saw the need for better media to motivate the LATINO VOTE. She’d read our research about audiences resonating with spokespersons who look like themselves but saw the problem: The Latino community was not seeing itself in the election media.”

Once the money was in place, Julie reached out to hot young commercial and music video director, Luis Aira, and hired him to direct the ‘92 spot and to mentor her as director of the ‘94 spot. She hired his company to line produce the first two PSAs but his company went on to create ten years of voting PSAs for Gonzalez’s SVREP.

Julie Carmen, Raquel Welch, & Antonio Gonzalez President of SVREP
Julie Carmen, Raquel Welch, & Antonio Gonzalez President of SVREP

Luis Aira brought in famed music composers/producers from Miami Sound Machine, Kiki Garcia and Hector Almaguer, but he credits Julie for bringing in actors she’d recently worked with who’d touch a wide Latino demographic, Edward James Olmos, Hector Elizondo, Culture Clash and Tony Plana. Watch 1992 PSA: Vote 2

What’s most memorable about Latino Vote ‘92 is the script, written by Luis Aira along with Jesus Ramirez and Mark Gonzalez of Bromley Advertising Agency, the now disbanded group who, for 34 years, helped pioneer Hispanic advertising.

Once the PSAs were edited, Julie called her friend Patrick Lippert, who was Executive Director of Rock the Vote.

The spots were not produced by Rock the Vote but Patrick saw the wisdom of adding them to Rock the Vote’s official PSA reel offered to local TV stations in the nine states with the largest Latino populations at the time.

Latino VOTE '92

Both spots premiered at the SVREP 20th Anniversary Banquet where candidate Al Gore delivered the keynote speech and Julie Carmen was Mistress of Ceremony. Practically every Latino politician in the US was in attendance at the Pasadena Hilton because President Clinton had been promoted as guest speaker.

Latin Heat asked Julie why she thought to concentrate only on women for the 1994 PSA. She replied, “At that time Carmen Zapata invited me to replace her on the Board of Directors of Women in Film because she always wanted a legacy of at least one Latina on the Board, passing the torch. I wanted to shine light on my colleagues and peers.”

Latin Heat asked Julie which issues are deal breakers for her personally. She stated, “Every election cycle there is a strong lobby that’s determined to undermine the hard won rights of women. But there will always be voters who are vigilant about protecting rights for our daughters. Therefore, issues like equal pay for equal work, choice about reproductive rights  and gun safety laws will be defining factors in the upcoming election. Progressive women voters may ultimately swing this election.”

Nely Galan, Julie Carmen, Carmen Zapata, Gloria Molina
Nely Galan, Julie Carmen, Carmen Zapata, Gloria Molina

The impact Julie’s PSA campaigns had, urging Latinos to vote in the 1992 presidential election and the 1994 U.S. Congressional race was historically significant.

When Latin Heat asked Julie which candidate she’s currently supporting for President, she stated, “I don’t tell people who to vote for but I have great faith in the intelligence of our community. What matters to me is that we organize in small local groups and reach out to neighbors who need rides to the polls.”

Latin Heat and Julie Carmen encourage Latinos to vote for the June 7th CA Primaries.

California Voter Registration Deadlines: Online or Postmark by May 23, 2016

Vote-by-Mail Ballot Request: Must arrive by May 31, 2016

Online Voter Registration, CLICK HERE


Please follow and like us:


Elia Esparza is a leading expert in communications and journalism targeting the burgeoning Hispanic market and has produced and written dozens of articles. President and CEO of Always Evolving PR and a Communications Specialist, Elia, incorporates her 18 years experience in the areas of entertainment and education public relations, and marketing. promotions, market research and translations (Eng/Span).

36 thoughts on “Spark & Unity: Latina Trailblazer Who Fired Up Latinos to Vote

Comments are closed.