SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Mixteco community in Santa Maria is celebrating after the Oscar's. Although the Mexican star of the Netflix film "Roma", Yalitza Aparicio, didn't take home the award for Best Actress, they say her role is helping indigenous people everywhere.
“It makes me so proud," shared Benito Camarillo, a member of the Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP).
“I am really proud of Yalitza Aparicio. She's gotten so far. She's doing so much for our indigenous communities,” agreed Mixtec parent Francisco Lozano.
The Mexican actress is of indigenous descent. Her role in Roma has launched her into stardom, but for many, it's about more than that.
“it's not so much about the movie, it's what it means for us. It represents the real Mexico,” said Camarillo.
The organizers say it is often times harder for them to assimilate upon migrating to the U.S.
“Many of us speak our native tongue, and when we come here we have to learn English and Spanish,” explained Camarillo.
Because of that, they say they are often times looked down upon.
“They look at you and think, oh it's these indigenous people, it's the Mixteco,” explained Lozano.
Lozano hopes Aparicio's role will change negative perceptions.
“We have talent, we just need more opportunities.”
“We're seeing Yalitza as a reflection of our indigenous community, a reflection of the Mexican people and that makes us very happy,” Camarillo added. “We're always going to be proud of who we are.”