The Imagen Awards are administered by the Imagen Foundation, an organization dedicated to "encouraging and recognizing the positive portrayals of Latinos in the entertainment industry".
In 1983, founder Helen Hernandez met with prolific television writer and producer Norman Lear. "Lear was acutely aware of the near absence of positive portrayals of Latinos in the entertainment industry and understood the importance of positive images. The two met with leaders of the National Conference for Community and Justice, a respected non-sectarian human relations organization committed to fighting prejudice and racial tensions".
The result was the Imagen Foundation Awards competition (or Imagen Awards), established in 1985, "now an annual Hollywood tradition recognizing and encouraging the television, film and advertising industries to portray Latino actors and production storylines in a positive and accurate manner. The Imagen tradition is one that recognizes those important producers, directors and writers who contribute from behind the scenes, as well as the Latin actors portraying these positive roles ... the Imagen awards have become one of the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry." Past honorees include such entertainment industry professionals as Andy García, Antonio Banderas, Phil Roman, Edward James Olmos, Bill Meléndez, Rita Moreno, Jennifer Lopez, and Héctor Elizondo.
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