Panels and Conferences

Feeding America: Labor, Politics and Food | Feb. 23, 2012

Last February, the National Museum of American History presented a public program addressing issues of labor and food production throughout the history of the United States. The program begun with the film Harvest of Loneliness by award winning director Gilbert Gonzales and was followed by a conversation with scholars Matt Garcia, Donald Mitchell, Melanie DuPuis and Museum curator Steve Velasquez. The program concluded with a book signing inside FOOD exhibition.

Taco Nation/ Planet Taco | Feb. 3, 2012

In partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center, the National Museum of American History presented an engaging conversation about the origins, transformation and consumption of Mexican food in the United States. Taco Nation/Planet Taco featured a conversation between authors Gustavo Arellano and Jeffry Pilcher moderated by the Museum curator of the FOOD exhibition, Rayna Green. The event took place in Warner Bros Theater and was webcasted. A highlight of the program was a Taco Rodeo, featuring three DC-based Taco truck on the Constitution curb of the museum. At the conclusion of the conversation authors signed books inside the FOOD exhibition. Over 300 visitors thoroughly enjoyed the food and the conversation.

20th Anniversary of the Mt. Pleasant Disturbance of 1991 Panel Discussion | May 8, 2011

In this onstage conversation, the 20th anniversary of the Mt. Pleasant riots, which unfolded over a course of three days, was discussed and reflected on. The panel was moderated by José Sueiro, former publisher of La Nación newspaper and included former D.C. mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon, former D.C. chief of police Isaac Fulwood, Jr., NMAH curator and Mt. Pleasant resident Olivia Cadaval, former head of the Latino Civil Rights Task Force Pedro Avilés and activist Marco Del Fuego. Both the context that spurred the riots and the effects of the events were discussed. Though details of the events still remain in contention, the riots began when an African American police officer shot a 30-year-old Salvadoran immigrant. After protests and demonstrations grew violent, then-mayor Pratt declared a curfew in hopes of curbing chaos in the streets. However, when looting and setting fire to police cruisers ensued, tear gas was shot into the rioters and 230 people were arrested. The mob disbanded on the third night but the event remains an important moment for Latinos in D.C.

Considering the Afro-Latin@ Experience | Feb. 26, 2011

The Museum and the Smithsonian Latino Center jointly presented a round-table conversation about the experiences of Black Latinos in the United States in conjunction with the release of “The Afro-Latin@ Reader.” Panelists included the editors, Miriam Jiménez Román and Juan Flores, contributing author María Rosario Jackson and DC-based activist Roland Roebuck.

Mexican Revolution Centennial Symposium | Sept. 23-25, 2010

In 2010, to commemorate the Mexican Revolution’s centennial, the PLHC presented three days of programming in Carmichael Auditorium. An academic conference with presentations and panel discussions was followed by artist and poet Guillermo Gomez-Peña, who presented his latest work, “Strange Democracy,” which was inspired by the events of Mexico’s bicentennial of independence from Spain and the centennial of the Revolution. At the end of the symposium, mariachis presented corridos, or ballad-style songs based on historical or heroic events.

More than Malbec: The Story of Argentine Wine | Sept. 9, 2010

This round-table conversation, presented by the Museum and the Smithsonian Latino Center, featured Laura Catena of the pioneering Catena family from Mendoza and Washington Post wine critic David McIntyre. The panelists discussed the fascinating history of wine making and the wine industry in Argentina, its relationship to the development of the U.S. industry, and the impact of Argentine wines on the U.S. market today. Nora Favelukes from Wines of Argentina, a trade association, moderated the program which was followed by a book signing and reception.

The Legacy of Operation Pedro Pan: A Roundtable Conversation | May 3, 2010

From 1960 to 1962 more than 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children were brought to the United States through a U.S. government program. This massive exodus of unaccompanied minors is the largest recorded in the Western Hemisphere and is known as Operation Pedro Pan. This roundtable conversation discussed the program’s legacy from multiple perspectives. The panelists included Jacqueline Bhabha, lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, and Director of Research at the François- Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard; Maria de los Angeles Torres, director and professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago; Emilio Cueto, attorney now retired; and Eloisa Echazabal, Assistant to the Campus President at Miami Dade College (MDC) Medical Campus. Dick Lobo, director of the International Broadcasting Bureau of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, moderated.

Spanish Vanguard Cuisine and its Influence in the United States and the World: With Chefs José Andrés and Wylie Dufresne | April 7, 2009

This onstage conversation, organized by the Museum, the Embassy of Spain, and the Smithsonian Latino Center, explored the emergence of Spanish Vanguard Cuisine and its global influence. José Andrés, who is internationally recognized for his culinary innovations in bringing both traditional and avant-garde Spanish fare to the United States, was one of the panelists. He directs the creative teams behind several D.C. restaurants such as: Café Atlántico, Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel, and MiniBar. This program also featured Wylie Dufresne, a disciple of Spanish chef Ferran Adrià and a leading American proponent of Vanguard Cuisine, which is the movement to introduce new techniques and sciences in the preparation and delivery of food.

La Causa: The Delano Grape Strike, 1965-1970 | September 2005

In 2005, the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Delano Grape Strike was celebrated with a panel discussion entitled, “La Cuasa: Delano Grape Strike, 1965-1970.” The panel of notable figures in this historic strike was moderated by NPR journalist Maria Hinojosa. The panel included Luis Valdez, founder El Teatro Campesino; Dolores Huerta, president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and cofounder of the United Farm Workers; Andrew Imutan, past vice president of United Farm Workers Organizing Committee; and Rep. Rául Grijalva (D-Ariz.).The end of the program was punctuated by Dolores Huerta leading the inspired program attendees in a collective “Sí Se Puede!” (Yes, it can be done!) chant, the rallying cry of the United Farm Workers.

From Segregation to Equal Opportunity: The Impacts of Mendez v. Westminster | September 2004

In 2004, and in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, the PLHC hosted a panel entitled, “From Segregation to Equal Opportunity: The Impacts of Mendez v. Westminster.” Civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez, a 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and the plaintiff in the landmark Mendez v. Westminster School District case that desegregated California schools and helped pave the way for Brown v. the Board of Education, spoke on the panel. Panelists included Hector Flores, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens and James Ferg-Cadina, interim regional counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Rachelle Brown, Assistant General Counsel of the Smithsonian Institution, moderated the panel. The presentation also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.