On January 15th, the sci-fi drama Roswell, New Mexico premiered on the CW with a Latina lead character whose father, a local business owner in the community, is undocumented.
We helped make that storyline happen!
The showrunner, Carina Adly Mackenzie, and the show’s writers worked with our Entertainment Media team to ensure the characters and storylines feel authentic to the undocumented experience in New Mexico. We read scripts, brought in experts, and led discussions with the Roswell team.
Why does it matter?
Pop culture often provides a social script for the way we engage with people around us. Humanizing characters on television builds empathy and can change the hearts and minds of its viewers. That’s why we released our 2019 Media Reference Guide – to help entertainment professionals tell authentic stories.
— Define American ?? (@DefineAmerican) January 23, 2019
What are people saying about Roswell, New Mexico?
Teen Vogue says: “Showrunner Carina Adly MacKenzie and the writers’ room wanted to make sure that the show felt rooted in today’s world, even if it’s about aliens hiding in plain sight. It’s very much an allegory for what we’re seeing in today’s world, from xenophobia to the border crisis. Yes, the literal aliens are scared of being discovered.”
Showrunner Carina Adly MacKenzie says: “We try to tell the story on the sci-fi metaphorical level and then to also tell the story on a more real level. We have undocumented immigrants on our show that are feeling threatened the same way we have aliens on our show that are feeling threatened.”
Lead actress Jeanine Mason says: “We really pooled our resources, as a show, and worked with an organization called Define American, which I love. They also worked with the writers’ room on Grey’s Anatomy because my character on that show was undocumented. It’s just been a really beautiful gift from the universe to work on two characters, back to back, one of which is undocumented, and the other lives with the fear of losing her father, in particular, who’s undocumented. Define American works with media, whether it’s journalists or TV shows, or whatever it might be, as a resource for the accurate portrayal of the undocumented experience. I love their work. I think it is such an important part of the non-profit sector, to be supporting culture and representing it in a way that is socially conscious and accurate.”