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HBA-NJ's Statement on the Comments Made by GOYA's CEO, Robert Unanue

13 Jul 2020 9:41 AM | Melinda Cox


DATE: July 13, 2020

This Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) is deeply disappointed in the remarks made by GOYA’s CEO Robert Unanue calling President Trump “a builder” and stating “we’re all truly blessed . . . to have a leader like President Trump”, as Mr. Unanue’s statements ignore the fact that President Trump is known for his degrading words and harmful policies against the Latino community.  HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox, stated: “President Trump has villainized our community, he has called us rapists, drug mules, and bad hombres, he has caged our children, and he has often described our community as ‘illegals’, marginalizing what our community has done for this country and suggesting that we are not wanted or needed here in America.  So when the CEO of a company like GOYA, which claims deep roots in the Latino culture, and that purposely caters to the Latino consumer population of the U.S., glorifies President Trump as a ‘builder’ without any acknowledgment of his checkered past with that same community, there naturally will be an eruption of emotion, sadness, frustration and anger from that same population.”   Mrs. Cox further stated, “As attorneys and as a bipartisan association that represents Latino attorneys across the state of New Jersey, the HBA-NJ believes in the sanctity of the constitutional right of freedom of speech; however, the right to free speech does not mean that one’s words do not come with consequences.  To have a New Jersey headquartered Latino company such as GOYA express such strong support and praise for President Trump – without any acknowledgment of the broken relationship the President has with our Latino community or the hurt and pain that our community has experienced as a result of his words – is reckless and dangerous.  As CEO of a company that prides itself in becoming ‘part of the culture’ of the Latino community, Unanue needs to be better, do better and must be held to a higher standard.”

The HBA-NJ is an association that represents the interests, development and advancement of Latinos in the legal profession and seeks to protect the interests of the Latino community through policies, regulations and collaboration with other community and civic organizations.   HBA-NJ President Cox acknowledges that GOYA has done a lot of good for the New Jersey and Latino communities, explaining: “We have seen GOYA donate substantial amounts of food to various Latino communities and GOYA has contributed to our community in many ways, which has resulted in a very loyal Latino-customer base.  GOYA can and should certainly support initiatives and programs that will help the Latino community and minority-owned businesses gain access to educational and economic opportunities, but it can do so without forgetting our community’s reality, which is that we are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, our unemployment rate is at 14.5%, immigrant families remain separated and detained, our Puerto Rican families are still trying to recover from Hurricane Maria – without the necessary support from the Trump administration – and we continue to face discrimination and prejudices because of who we are.  With that reality in mind, Unanue must understand the pain and anger that he has unleashed as a result of his words.”  

Mrs. Cox concluded,  “Goya is a powerful Latino-owned company, built on the backs of our community and our culture.  Personally, I hope that GOYA’s leadership publicly recognizes the insensitivity of Unanue’s words, so that this community can start to heal and can continue to support Latino-owned businesses like GOYA.”








Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

P.O Box 25562

Newark, NJ  07101


HBANJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization

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