June 20, 2023
NEWPORT, RI—The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy and visiting senior fellow Nellie Gorbea will host a day-long workshop focused on Spanish-language disinformation on Friday, June 23, 2023, entitled, “Mis- Dis- Mal-Information: Defendiendo La Verdad.” The workshop is sponsored by Hispanic Federation and will be held for Latino elected and appointed officials in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Co-convening organizations include Amplify Latinx, Connecticut Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund and Latino Victory Project.
The workshop will consist of interactive sessions led by national experts on addressing mis- dis- and mal-information. They will share tools and resources to identify misinformation in the media targeting Spanish speakers.
Drawing from her experiences when she served as Rhode Island Secretary of State, Gorbea hopes this workshop will help raise awareness of the growing disinformation problem in Spanish and other languages. She said, “Foreign and domestic actors are currently using Spanish and other languages to undermine trust in our government and in our civic institutions. Many times this false information lingers online much longer than English language disinformation.” She continued, “Today we are able to equip Latino elected leaders with tried strategies and resources available to combat this growing problem.”
“Spanish-language disinformation is a growing issue across the United States, and right here in New England,” said Jim Ludes, a disinformation researcher who is also Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Salve Regina University. “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Massachusetts ranks 18th out of 50 states for the percent of their population (12.6%) that is either Hispanic or Latino. Rhode Island ranks 12th at 16.6% and Connecticut ranks 10th at 17.3%. And those numbers are growing. In Rhode Island alone, the decade between 2010 and 2020 saw the Rhode Island Latino population grow by nearly 40%. Spanish language disinformation is targeting Americans—and that’s why this workshop is so important.
“Hispanic Federation is deeply committed to empowering and advancing the Latino community and we are excited to co-convene this crucial workshop to share learnings on how we can combat misinformation,” the organization’s New England Regional Director Yanidsi Velez said Tuesday. “By equipping Latino elected leaders and the broader community with essential tools, we aim to strengthen their ability to discern and effectively counteract misinformation.” She added, “as the New England Regional Director at Hispanic Federation, I am honored to be part of this collaborative effort that fosters a resilient and well-informed Latino community, united by the values of truth.”