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Julie Meise at ALMA Awards 2009

On September 18, some of the biggest names in entertainment came together for the 2009 National Council of La Raza (NCLR) ALMA Awards® on ABC, a one-of-a-kind tribute to the spirit of pioneering Latinos in television, music, and sports.

The National Council of La Raza is the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. For more than 40 years, NCLR has been promoting the advancement of Latino families in this country, creating opportunities and opening doors. NCLR created the ALMA Awards in 1995 as part of its strategy to promote fair, accurate, and balanced portrayals of Latinos in the entertainment industry. The show was named “ALMA” (Spanish for “spirit”), which represents the determined spirit of the Latino people in an effort to reflect the spirit as well as the scope of the awards program.

The American Latino Media Arts Award, or ALMA Award is a distinction awarded to Latino performers (actors, film and television directors, musicians, and designers) who promote positive portrayals of Latinos in the entertainment field. In Spanish, the word alma means spirit or soul.

Created in 1995 by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), it takes over from the previous Bravo Awards. The awards are part of NCLR's strategy to counter the alleged negative stereotyping of Latinos in U.S. entertainment. The awards are given during an annual ceremony generally held in the summer. The awards festival is sometimes referred to as the "Latin American Oscars" in North America.

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