When Gloria Calderon-Kellett and Mike Royce set out to create a show about a Cuban-American family, they wanted it to be authentic. Not only is it authentic, it has touched Latinos and non-Latinos in many surprising ways. While this is a show about a Latino family and their experiences, they are similar experiences for many other immigrants, LGBTQ teens, and anyone who has dealt with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
For two seasons, the Alvarez family has made their Netflix viewing audience laugh, cry and sometimes a little bit of both at the same time. As the series hangs in the balance for a third season, it’s no surprise that many major Hispanic groups have banded together to support the renewal of this heart-filled show that means so much to so many.
Blown away by this support! Thank you @NHMC @NHLAgenda @NLIRH @HispanicArts @PresenteOrg @WeAreUnidosUS @votolatino @HispanicCaucus & everyone for writing an open letter to @Netflix in support of @OneDayAtATime
— Gloria Calderón Kellett (@everythingloria) March 15, 2018
“As the largest media advocacy and civil rights organizations committed to the advancement of Latinos, we are calling on you to join us in ensuring the equitable and positive representation of Latinos in television by renewing your original series, ‘One Day at a Time,’” the open letter dated March 13 reads.
“This critically acclaimed show serves as a guiding light–the true north in and for an industry grappling with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Out of the mere 22 Latinx shows that have been picked up to series since 2000, “One Day at a Time” is by far the best received based on available Rotten Tomatoes scores. Humorous and smart at its core, audiences connect with the authenticity of Penelope (played by award-winning actress Justina Machado), an Army veteran and newly single mother of two.”
It continues, “Unique to the 21st-century reboot, however, is the intergenerational Latinx lens through which audiences view the show. Some of the issues the Cuban-American Alvarez family confronts are indeed unique to their heritage, race, and the current political climate, but others such as Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) are relatable to growing populations, and many are universal–fiercely familiar to all.”
The letter goes on to point out that Hispanics and Latinos make up “17.8 percent of the nation’s total population and are the second-largest racial or ethnic group behind white Americans, but are grossly underrepresented in television and film. Currently, Latinos hold only 5.8 percent of speaking roles.”
And while there is no doubt that representation is of utmost importance, a show like One Day at a Time serves another purpose. During a time when many people support a wall that will serve as nothing more than to divide the United States even further, we should all work harder towards understanding each other and who we are.
During the red carpet premiere in January, co-creator Royce spoke about why a show like this is so important to non-Latinos like him.
“Working on this show has given me the privilege to look through someone’s eyes and see their experience. I can’t experience it but I try to be more aware. I say privilege because I feel like everyone in the country should be able to go through this. I feel like I have an advantage by hearing so many people’s experiences and understanding that I didn’t have to deal with that.”
“He continued, “It’s the same thing with sexism. Gloria talks about when she walks into a [writer’s] room and she’s the only woman, she has to worry about how people are perceiving her. If she’s in a room with one other woman, she’s told they shouldn’t sit together because ‘what will people think?’ When I walked into a [writer’s] room, I just have to worry about being funny. Trust me, that’s a really hard thing to worry about but that was my only worry. So it’s hard enough without putting all these other things on you.
“As I hear more stories about the Latino experience and things that people go through, I’m just consistently learning about things that I never have to go through that others do. Hopefully, I will continue to open my eyes about a lot of things. America is still very segregated. I grew up in an almost completely white neighborhood and I was lucky to have my own experiences. But it’s important that we try to learn more about other people and their experiences instead of just writing them off because it’s just something they don’t understand.”
As many times as Latinos can chant about the importance of representation, it is only through learning about each other and our cultural differences that we will truly be a united nation. A show like “One Day at a Time” is helping to bridge that understanding, and it would be a shame to not allow Calderon Kellett, Royce and their diverse team of writers, directors, and cast to continue to tell theirs.
To show your support for the renewal of “One Day at a Time,” you can sign your name to a petition via this link. You can also show your support for the series by watching it again or for the first time via Netflix.