My family is the world: Mexican mother, Lebanese father. My history is built upon both the ancient and modern worlds. Worlds filled with pioneers, visionaries, dreamers. The timeless search for new lands, new opportunities to live on our own terms and to realize our own dreams.
Everyone has their origin story, and everyone's story involves struggle somewhere along the way. My mother's father was a 'ganadero', a rancher, from whom I learned the value of hard work and independence. My grandmother lived to love and care for her husband and family. My mother emphasized self-reliance and perseverance. My father helped his whole family escape the Lebanese Civil War, to start new lives in Canada. His life is a lesson in daring, in vision. He was my beacon. He taught me that in life, if we want to see change, we must take our own chances, make our own opportunities, and make sure we reach back and help others along the way.
We are the descendants of great people, great histories, great kingdoms. We carry that with us wherever we go, and when we stand in it, revel in it, honor it, we bring to the world its power and beauty.
The answers to challenges we face in our industry today can be found in the journeys of our families in the past. We stand here because of the sacrifice and courage of our ancestors.
As an immigrant, living on the Texas-Mexico border most of my life, I know firsthand how big people's dreams are and how out of reach they may seem. How a person can be filled with possibility, yet how hard it can be to achieve those dreams.
I left my home in Texas, alone, to start a career on the other side of the country. I didn't know anyone, and had so much to learn from the struggle, the fight, the chances, the work. I drew my strength from my family. The fact that I am writing this is a testament to them.
As an actor who has worked in two different cultural markets of the entertainment industry, in two different languages, I have seen the glaring differences and the sobering similarities of both. Much work needs to be done and while we have made strides we need to come together to continue to move the conversation forward.
Marvelous Hispanic talents have opened doors in the past, and great new talent is stepping in front of the camera today, and while more work needs to be done there, it is behind the camera where we really need to focus special attention. Clearly, we can't wait on those in power to make change. We must take it upon ourselves to be more vocal. We have the talent, we have the skills, and we have the audience.
The life stories that we can tell are both specific and unique to our culture, and universal: our stories are about life, family, love, heartache, and our many dreams.
Commonality does not mean uniformity: what we share as people around the globe is still experienced and expressed uniquely, through different lands and voices, with different customs, music, art, and cuisine. We move through the world, we sing, we savor, uniquely. Let's celebrate the tapestry that is the world.
We must, because we have a new history to make! Join me.
Emeraude Toubia is a Mexican-Lebanese actor who stars in Gloria Calderón Kellett's upcoming series With Love, which premieres December 17 on Prime VIdeo.
The statements and viewpoints expressed in the article above are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions or viewpoints of the Television Academy, the Television Academy Foundation, or their members, officers, directors, employees, or sponsors.