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New UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative report underscores a continued neglect by the Smithsonian of U.S. Latino History and a lack of commitment to diversity

Washington, D.C.- UCLA LPPI joined the Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) to release Invisible No More, the first analysis of the Smithsonian Institution’s progress in implementing the ten recommendations from its 1994 report, Willful Neglect. It found that the Institution failed to execute on 7 of the 10 recommendations. This includes a decrease in federal funding for the Smithsonian Latino Center and a severe underrepresentation of Latinos in leadership roles.

Upon the release of this research, Estuardo Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Friends of the American Latino Museum, released the following statement:

"The UCLA study has confirmed what we have argued for some time, the Willful Neglect report is a 24-year-old roadmap, and its most significant recommendations have been largely ignored. Chief among those recommendations is the need to create a Smithsonian American Latino Museum as the only way to truly address the gaps in our American history. At a time when misunderstandings and stereotypes about American Latinos and our contributions to the nation are harming our community, this report provides further inspiration for the critical work of the Friends of the American Latino Museum. We are hopeful the Smithsonian and Congress will heed these findings and move to more vigorously support our next critical piece of legislation, the National Museum of the American Latino Act, through to passage."

Danny Vargas, Chair of the Board of the Friends of the American Latino Museum, issued the following statement on the role an American Latino Museum can play in addressing this gap within the institution:

“Throughout American history, Latinos have played a foundational and fundamental role in creating the nation we know and love today. In keeping with the mission of the Smithsonian Institution, it is time to increase and diffuse knowledge about these contributions, for the benefit of all Americans and those visiting our great country."