ACE Monitoring Win
In June 2020 Arts Council England announced it was adding a Latin American tick box on its diversity monitoring forms, following years of campaigning by Latinx advocacy organisations, including LatinXcluded. Elizabeth took a key role in this campaign, holding Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Darren Henley to account publicly and getting him to commit to adding Latin to ACE monitoring forms. This is a monumental move from a public funding body that deviates from standardised data collection, as Latin is still not part of the census.
In her own words, Elizabeth narrates the win;
I was born in London to LatinX parents. One of the first things I learned very quickly was that I would never find a ‘Latin American’ box underneath the ‘ethnicity’ section, despite being the 8th largest community in the UK. As I grew up, I began applying for jobs, eventually for University and I realised we didn’t have a box on there either. My fight for this began long ago with The Advocacy Academy and having recently started to co-create my own theatre show, My Uncle Is Not Pablo Escobar, I joined LAIPA (Latin Americans in Performing Arts collective) and their campaign for our box on all forms by Arts Council England.
Currently, all Latinx tick the other box. Some of us write however we identify next to it, if there is room for that. This makes our contributions invisible and unaccountable for. We cannot show how many Latinx audience members there were in a show, or how many Latinx makers benefit from grants. How many Latinx stories are told or how many young Latinx people use the support from the many brilliant orgs across the UK who are there to change lives from the get go. Without a unified box that will mean all reports to the ACE will carry data from our community, we cannot show our impact, our contributions or articulate our needs and asks as a community. A community that is certainly active and working really hard for many years now.
I got to speak to at What Next? Festival in front of almost 300 leading
arts professionals. I spoke about what it was like to feel invisible in this industry. How data might not seem important but for someone who has been overlooked in this profession time and time again, it represents my humanity. Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Darren Henley didn’t get a chance to respond to my ask that week. We were all invited back the following week, another huge audience of leading arts professionals. I stated my case again. There was still no response from his end. I made sure that we were not going to leave this meeting without a response so I asked the moderator if I could ask one more time, even more directly. And there in the space of 10 seconds, he agreed, committed publicly - something that LAIPA had been trying to do for 2 years.
In a time when people are recognising what it means to devalue humanity
based on race or ethnicity, finally my humanity was given some justice. As with any fight, this could be seen as the success of one young activist from South London but this has been building on so many other brilliant Latinx activists. We’re here to keep fighting and until every institution in the country acknowledges, welcomes and celebrates the existence of the Latinx community.