LatinXcellence: TV Anchor and Author Ilia Calderón Breaks Barriers
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with People CHICA's LatinXcellence series, spotlighting the incredible people who are changing the world through their work and activism. Today we focus on Univision anchor Ilia Calderón, who represents Afro-Latinas on screen, promotes education, and raises her voice against racial injustice.
Here at People CHICA we celebrate our Latinidad 365 days a year, but during Hispanic Heritage Month, we go extra hard. Established in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month (also known as Latino Heritage Month or Latinx Heritage Month) recognizes the generations of Latinos who have positively influenced and enhanced our society. All month long, we'll be celebrating with a series called #LatinXcellence, highlighting people who are making a difference in Latino culture today through their art, work, and activism.
In 2017, Ilia Calderón made history by becoming the first Afro-Latina co-anchor at a Hispanic network in the United States when she joined Jorge Ramos at Noticiero Univision. "It's a great responsibility knowing that I'm opening doors for other generations, not only for journalists, but for other girls and women who want to succeed at what they do," she told People CHICA then. "My commitment is not only to the Afro-Hispanic community, but to the Hispanic community in general."
The Colombian journalist, 48, recently made her debut as an author with her powerful memoir My Time to Speak: Reclaiming Ancestry and Confronting Race, where she talks about the obstacles she faced on her path to success and how she handled discrimination because of her skin color. "Just the fact that I'm here empowers those little girls that never saw themselves in a position like that growing up, the mere fact that I appear on the screen shows them that they can achieve that and they can fight for any dream they have," she told People en Español. "They see themselves represented."
The Emmy winner covers important news like the presidential election, the struggles of DREAMers and immigrants, and the growing number of femicide and domestic violence cases in Latin America, among other social issues that greatly impact our community.
She also talks about the power of diversity in her book, and celebrates it daily at home with her Korean American husband and their daughter, Anna. Calderón, who was raised by a single mom in the underserved region of El Chocó, knows that education and hard work are key to success. She supports two schools in her native Chocó, donating funds to provide essential school supplies for its students. Her mom, a teacher, has been her biggest source of inspiration. "If there is a word that describes my mom it's resilience," she says. "She taught me that it doesn't matter how big problems may seem, you have to be brave and make them smaller, fight them and get ahead, take a step up."