Mar 29, 2010

National Museum of the American Latino Commission Launches First in Series of National Public Outreach Sessions in Chicago

Community input from weekend session to be incorporated in Commission’s Report to Congress

Washington, DC – This past Saturday, March 27th the Chicago History Museum was the setting for the first in a series of six regional public forums being held around the country by the National Museum of the American Latino Commission (NMALC) (http://americanlatinomuseum.gov). The NMALC was appointed by the President of the United States and bi-partisan Congressional leaders and is tasked to provide a report on the creation of a potential National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, D.C. The Commission will be gathering input from the general public over the next several months, which will be included in its final report to Congress slated for September 2010. Chicago was tapped as the first city in the six-city listening tour because of its strong arts and cultural tradition and its symbolic position geographically in the center of the country.

"We were thrilled by the warm welcome from the windy city and were very encouraged by the comments and opinions from the local panelists and public in attendance,” stated Commissioner, Cindy Peña. “This is the kind of valuable input we are looking to receive as we prepare our report to Congress."

In attendance at the forum were prominent leaders from the arts, civic and business communities in Chicago, including Billy Ocasio, Senior Advisor to Governor Pat Quinn and Jesse Ruiz, Chair of the Illinois State Board of Education.

The forum consisted of a panel of six local leaders interfacing with six Commissioners who had traveled to Chicago for the event, followed by a public question and answer session fielded by the Commissioners. The questions from the public ranged from thoughts on the development, design and collections for a potential museum, to the make-up of the Commission and the potential impact on regional Latino museums and cultural efforts.

NMALC Commission members in attendance included Luis Cancel of California, Sandy Colon-Peltyn of Nevada, Carlos Ezeta of Nevada, Sean Reyes of Utah, Cindy Peña of Colorado and Cid Wilson of New Jersey.

The local panelists included: Pepe Vargas, Founder and CEO of the International Latino Cultural Center and the Latino Film Festival, Arabel Alva Rosales, CEO of Latino Fashion; Jesse Ruiz, Chair, Illinois State Board of Education; Juan Salgado, Executive Director, Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights & Instituto del Progreso Latino; Mark Aguilera, National Committeeman, Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Illinois and Omar Duque, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

A local Chicago Welcoming Committee consisting of several prominent area leaders assisted the Commission with its inaugural forum in Chicago. Welcoming Committee members (in addition to the panelists) included:

Xavier Nogueras, President of the Illinois Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, Juan Salgado, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights & Instituto del Progreso Latino; Tony Quinones, CEO of Blue Northern Energy; Pedro DeJesus, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Tampico Beverages, Inc.; Roberto Carmona, CEO of the Crimson Leadership Group; Pedro Windsor, Special Presidential Aid/Advisor for Steve Zack of the American Bar Association; Carlos Hernandez, CEO of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance; Jaime Viteri, CEO of the Chicago Latino Network; Lauren Pacheco, CEO of the Chicago Urban Arts Society; Michael Alvarez, CEO of Alvarez Affairs & Associates; and George Burcinga - SmarTECHS.

The NMALC is also supported by a robust website http://americanlatinomuseum.gov where interested parties can leave their comments on a possible museum and interact with other online visitors who want to get involved in the process.

The next stop on the NMALC public forum tour is Albuquerque, NM on Saturday, April 10th.

Contact: Cassandra Andrade, 954.588.7693

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