(WASHINGTON, DC) – Friends of the American Latino Museum (FRIENDS), the only organization dedicated to the creation of a Smithsonian National American Latino Museum, today announced it will host a forum on the state of the Latino narrative in the U.S. on Friday, December 6, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at The Raben Group Los Angeles (601 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015). Titled “Shaping the Narrative: Media, Representation, and the American Latino Experience”, the forum will reflect on the opportunities and challenges found in media, entertainment, and politics to drive a more accurate depiction of Latinos in America.

Comedian Jesus Trejo and RightThisMinute host Christian Vera will start the morning with a fireside chat about Latinos in media and entertainment today. It will be followed by a panel featuring Justice for Migrant Women founder Monica Ramírez, National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Executive Director Ben Lopez, and Latino Decisions co-founder Dr. Matt Barretto on how politics, activism, and the arts can intersect for a path forward.

“Latinos have contributed to the fabric of America for centuries, yet we remain grossly underrepresented and misrepresented in the media, film and television, and in the nation’s capital,” said Danny Vargas, Chairman of the FRIENDS board. “The lack of Latino voices contributes to false narratives about our community and increases negative stigmas against us. At a time when hateful rhetoric is fueling racial attacks across the country, it is more important than ever that our stories be told, our voices be heard, and our contributions be recognized.” 

“As we look to advance inclusion and the accurate portrayal of Latinos, it is important to acknowledge that we are not idly waiting for others to solve the issue and are making strides to take back control of the narrative ourselves,” said Estuardo Rodriguez, President and CEO of FRIENDS. “We are creating our own platforms that allow us to be the news editor, the film director, and the face on the screen. We are telling our own stories in our own voices. The forum will explore the ways we can close the representation gap in America and accurately highlight the contributions of the largest minority in the country.”

FRIENDS will host the annual American Latino Influencer Awards (ALIAs) on Friday, December 6, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at SLS Hotel Beverly Hills. The event highlights the contributions made by Latinos to the U.S. and sheds light on the important need to establish a Smithsonian National American Latino Museum in Washington, DC. To attend, purchase tickets for the event here. For more information on the ALIAs and FRIENDS, please visit https://americanlatinomuseum.org/