March 22, 2012

A 'Social Revolución' Gives Attention to Latino Causes

Armando Rayo, a vice president at the communications firm Cultural Strategies, is a veteran of the annual South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. In recent years, though, he's noticed that all the discussions about using technology to promote the social good have been missing a key element.

"There's always kind of this sense of, 'Where are the Latinos and the Latino sessions?'" Mr. Rayo said. "It's kind of hard to find."

That wasn't the case this year. Mr. Rayo worked with the conference organizers, Univision News, and others to present the Social Revolución Latino Lounge and the Revolucionario Awards to call attention to Latino efforts to help others.

"Revolucionarios" are important in Latino culture, says Mr. Rayo.

"It could be that you're a cancer survivor and you want to raise awareness, maybe it's social-justice issues or education, or you want to help kids link up with technology. In a sense, we all have that," he said.

The awards program received more than 140 nominations for seven categories. Among the winners was Maria Teresa Kumar, co-founder of Voto Latino, a voter-registration organization; the Grammy-winning musicians Calle 13, who have worked to stop human trafficking in Latin America; and Vocabador, an iPhone application with a Mexican wrestling theme designed to help prepare students for the SAT and GRE exams.

"Latinos are out there," Mr. Rayo said. "This was all built on establishing those relationships. If you establish a relationship with one Latino, to a group, they'll become your best advocates."

Send an e-mail to Cody Switzer.