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National Initiative “Our Shared Future” Focuses on Confronting Our Racial History


A new Smithsonian Institution initiative called Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past puts focus on the racial history of the United States. Together with Los Angeles cultural institutions and museums, they will present a collaborative series of public programs between Dec. 1 – Dec. 17 to explore how race has transformed our lives, and how racist events and policies of the past connect to glaring inequities in society today.

In a media briefing by Ethic Media Services, this event’s details were explained and its history’s value was explained. These events aim to illuminate the shared racial history between the Japanese, Chinese, and Latino communities in Los Angeles.

Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past explores the history and legacy of race and racism in the United States and beyond. With this initiative, they seek to spark positive social change and build a more equitable future by bringing people together to talk, share, and learn from each other.

“The United States is currently more than at any time in its history, a highly globalized. A society that is not only within the United States but outside the United States,” said Dr. Deborah Mack who serves as the Director of the Smithsonian’s national initiative, “We felt that this work was most effective in communities and with our institutional partners who have those direct relationships.” 

Letizia Reed Buckley, CEO of La Plaza said they share the accomplishments and experiences of Latinx people in Latino culture. 

“We don’t collect artwork, we collect stories because we know how important it is that we tell them,” Reed Buckley said during the briefing. “We provide a historical lens to Latinos’ many contributions to Los Angeles. And also explore some of the significant episodes in our community’s history.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is a community hub where people gather to celebrate Latinx culture through transformative exhibitions, music, dance, culinary arts, and multigenerational artmaking and storytelling experiences. An anchor cultural institution in Los Angeles County, LA Plaza centers on the Latino experience. It provides a space to uplift, share, and preserve the stories of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Latinx people in Southern California. 

In a recent statement on their official website, the Initiative emphasizes a core belief that every individual carries a racialized identity, advocating that each of us holds the power to drive transformative change. The organization critiques traditional portrayals of race in mainstream media, asserting that while some concepts are acknowledged, their application is often limited.

“The movement for racial justice is an enduring endeavor aimed at creating a more inclusive world for everyone,” states the group in its mission statement. Recognizing racism as an important aspect of history, the organization highlights the persistent global repercussions of racial hierarchies. Urging acknowledgment and reflection on this racial past and its contemporary ramifications, the Initiative underscores the need for collective action.

The mission statement further articulates the Initiative’s stance, asserting, “We believe that characteristics such as sex, gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and citizenship status intersect with racial identity, shaping diverse lived experiences.” Emphasizing an intersectional approach, the group contends that the pursuit of justice and equity necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the interconnected nature of various social characteristics.

This initiative stands as a proponent of multifaceted justice, aiming to address the complex interplay of racial identity with other defining characteristics in the ongoing struggle for equity.

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