Panels and Conferences

Latinos and Baseball: In the Barrios and the Big Leagues | October 15-16, 2015 

Latinos and Baseball: In the Barrios and the Big Leagues project kicked off with Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, moderating a panel discussion on baseball as a social and cultural force within Latino communities across the nation. Panelists included Adrian Burgos of the University of Illinois, Jose Alamillo and Cesar Caballero of California State University, and Sarah Gould and Priscilla Leiva of the University of Texas. 

What It Means to Be American: The 1965 Immigration Act That Became the Law of Unintended Consequences | October 2, 2015 

On the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Immigration Act, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, Zócalo Public Square and the Smithsonian Institution convened a panel of scholars to discuss the intended and unintended consequences of the civil rights legislation. While the act repealed discriminatory practices against Southern and Eastern European immigrants, and welcomed new immigrants on the basis of high skills and family unification, the legislation created tensions among other immigrant communities. The Hart-Celler Act changed the trajectory of immigration to the United States and how we view it today.

Food Fridays: Hispanic-Heritage Month September 2015

The National Museum of American History explored history through the blend of cultures that make Latin America with Chef Alex Strong, Ernesto Cadima, Anna Norman, Brain Patterson, and Sous Chef Angie Rosada throughout Hispanic Heritage Month. We tasted the cocina criolla, came to understand the American love for Mexican cuisine, Spain’s culinary influence on Latin American food, and the role of maize in North and Latin American tradition.

Conversations on Latino/as and the ADA | July 24, 2015 

As a part of the Americans with Disabilities Act Festival, professors, activists, and professionals from across the country took on the historical and cultural issues related to how disability has been understood among Latino/as in the United States in three panels: “The History and Political Dynamics of Policy and Services,” “The History of Cultural Issues Related to Disability and Latino/as,” and “Activism and Advocacy.”

What It Means to Be American: Ritchie Valens, Selena, and Filming the American Dream | May 29, 2015

Producer Moctesuma Esparza and writer-director Luis Valdez were hosted by Zócalo Public Square and the Smithsonian Institution for a panel, moderated by film critic Claudia Puig, on the presence of Latinos in films from the 1920s to the present day. 

What It Means to Be American: The Women of the West | January 14, 2015 

When we think of the West, we do not think of it is a place where women stretched gender roles, likely due to the immortalization of cowboys and outlaws in Wild West films. However, the West took the lead on many women’s rights. The first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor, and the first Latina CEO of Girl Scouts, Anna Maria Chávez, discussed what it means to be a Western woman and achieving the honorable status of “the first” at the kick-off of the What It Means to Be American initiative. The initiative is a collaboration between the National Museum of American History and Zócalo Public Square aimed to engage the American public to explore the development and identity of the nation.

Feeding America: Labor, Politics, and Food | February 23, 2013

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 began 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: Transforming the American Table exhibition. 

Taco Nation/ Planet Taco | February 9, 2013 

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. The program concluded with a book signing inside the FOOD: Transforming the American Table 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

The 20th anniversary of the Mt. Pleasant riots, which unfolded over a course of three days, was discussed and reflected on during an onstage conversation. 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 | February 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 | September 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 | September 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

The panel discussion celebrated the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Delano Grape Strike.The panel of notable figures in this historic strike was moderated by NPR journalist Maria Hinojosa. The panel included Luis Valdez, founder of 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 Representative 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, we can!) chant, the rallying cry of the United Farm Workers.

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

The Museum 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 was featured on the panel. Her family's win against the Westminister School District desegregated California schools and helped pave the way for Brown v. the Board of Education. Other 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.