Wednesday, June 15th, I had the opportunity to attend the Press Preview for the National Museum of the American Latino. This gallery is filled with relics and the rich history of the Latino community. Starting way back from the colonial age till the modern-day. It was such an honor to meet the director Eduardo Diaz who got very teary when explaining the journey to get this gallery up and running.
While this precious place is still not a museum, the directors are patiently waiting for the bill to be passed that would convert this small place into a museum. As of right now, it is open for the public to come in and enjoy the artworks, the history, the stories, and the relics.
Eduardo Diaz has said that he loves the gallery not just for the space it gives Latinos but also for the fact that it contains “lots of stories and promotes a diverse community.” As Latinos do not come in one size or shade but rather in different sizes, shapes, and shades. It is really an amazing place to come and learn about Latinos in America and their struggle. Not only in the aspect of immigration laws but also in the struggle during colonial time, during the Civil War, and movements in which they fought for freedom and rights.
It is more important now than ever that even if it is a small place that the representation is there. Growing up as a first-generation, you learn about the struggles of other people and their struggle for freedom. But it is rarely talked about in schools about the struggles Latinos go through, you feel like you are not seen. So having this gallery and soon-to-be museum in the process is an amazing thing. To teach not only kids but adults and everyone who wants to learn is really important. To learn about the revolutions and movements that got us to this place right now. To learn about the people who fought blood and sweat so we can have the opportunities we have right now.
I feel so honored to have had this chance to attend the Press Preview as the first one in my family to have this opportunity. But also to see with my own eyes that the future generation will have representation and will have the chance to learn about their people and their culture. As one of the directors said during the Press Preview “to honor the sacrifices of our ancestors.” This is an amazing honor we can give to our ancestors who put their lives at risk to open a path. Their stories are being brought to life through this gallery, and their faith and passion are being proclaimed.
Also, the gallery has an exhibit that talks about people today, right now who are working and trying to open more doors for the Latino community. For example, Ruby Corado is a part of this exhibit. Her work at Casa de Ruby is to provide services such as housing, food, etc to Latino Transgender teens. As in her transition, no one was really there to help her so she wanted to create an organization that helped teens who were in her position. Before attending the museum I did not even know this was a service or something that was available. There are so many other similar stories and organizations that are striving to help the Latino community.
The experience you go through when visiting this gallery is like never before. This place is really a new learning experience and an accomplishment for the Latino community. If you are in the DMV area please go to the gallery. You need to see it for yourself.