NHLA Press Releases

NHLA Applauds Kennedy Center's Announcement of Key Steps to Increase Diversity and Improve the Center's Honors Selection Process

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 7, 2013) — The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of thirty leading Hispanic organizations in the nation, today hailed the Kennedy Center’s announcement that it would review its Kennedy Center Honors Process in order to better reflect the entirety and diversity of American culture. In addition, Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser also announced the formation of a Latino Advisory Committee to establish a more open and collaborative engagement with the Latino community. The announcement comes on the heels of a years-long campaign by NHLA members to bring attention to the lack of inclusivity and recognition of Latino artists in the Center’s Honors selection process.

Hector E. Sanchez, Chair of NHLA and Executive Director of LCLAA, stated: “Today we are pleased that NHLA’s collaborative efforts and our ongoing dialogue with the Center’s top leadership have borne a firm commitment to change, especially in the way the Kennedy Center engages with our community, including the Kennedy Center Honors. We believe that this will bring greater transparency and accountability to one of the most important cultural recognitions in our great nation.”medical services they need. With these new additions, the NHLA can effectively continue to advocate on behalf of the Latino community and ensure that its priorities are realized.”

Felix Sanchez, Chairman of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, stated: “For many years, Latinos have been excluded from the American tapestry. Despite our historical alliance to the Kennedy family and our work in expanding the cultural horizons in America, we have been unduly overlooked for one of the nation’s highest cultural honors. The Kennedy Center’s commitment to improving its selection process is a long-awaited acknowledgement that Latinos are an important part of the American mosaic. I look forward to working productively with the Kennedy Center.”

Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO, stated: “Today’s announcement is an important step forward. We welcome the Center’s willingness to review its current selection process and we are confident that these changes will serve as a stepping stone to a more open conversation with the Latino community. We want to commend the Kennedy Center’s Board, led by Chair David Rubenstein and Board member Giselle Fernandez, for their work and also Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser for creating a Latino Advisory Committee to continue this fruitful dialogue in the future.”

Established in 1991, The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) brings together Hispanic leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - La Agenda Nacional de Liderazgo Hispano (NHLA), una coalición de treinta organizaciones hispanas líderes en la nación, elogió hoy el anuncio del Kennedy Center de que revisaría el proceso de selección de sus premiados para reflejar mejor la totalidad y diversidad de la cultura de los Estados Unidos. Además, el presidente del Kennedy Center, Michael Kaiser, también anunció la formación de un Comité Asesor Latino para establecer un compromiso más abierto y de colaboración con la comunidad latina. El anuncio se produce después de una campaña que los miembros de NHLA realizaron durante varios años para llamar la atención sobre la falta de inclusión y reconocimiento de los artistas latinos en el proceso de selección de los premios del Centro.

Héctor E. Sánchez, presidente de NHLA y director ejecutivo de LCLAA, declaró: “Hoy, estamos complacidos de que los esfuerzos de colaboración de NHLA y nuestro diálogo continuo con los principales líderes del Kennedy Center hayan llevado a un firme compromiso de cambio, sobre todo en la forma en que el Kennedy Center se relaciona con nuestra comunidad, incluyendo los premios del Kennedy Center. Creemos que esto traerá una mayor transparencia y rendición de cuentas a uno de los reconocimientos culturales más importantes de nuestra gran nación.”

Félix Sánchez, presidente de la Fundación Nacional Hispana para las Artes, declaró: “Durante muchos años, los latinos han sido excluidos del tapiz de los Estados Unidos. A pesar de nuestra alianza histórica con la familia Kennedy y nuestro trabajo al ampliar los horizontes culturales de los Estados Unidos, hemos sido excesivamente ignorados para uno de los más altos honores culturales de la nación. El compromiso del Kennedy Center de mejorar su proceso de selección es un reconocimiento largamente esperado de que los latinos son una parte importante del mosaico de los Estados Unidos. Espero trabajar productivamente con el Kennedy Center.”

Janet Murguía, presidenta de NCLR, declaró: “El anuncio de hoy es un importante paso hacia adelante. Damos la bienvenida a la disposición del Kennedy Center para revisar su actual proceso de selección y estamos seguros de que estos cambios servirán como punto de partida para una conversación más abierta con la comunidad latina. Queremos felicitar a la junta del Kennedy Center, encabezada por el presidente David Rubenstein, y a Giselle Fernández, miembro de la junta, por su trabajo. También al presidente del Kennedy Center, Michael Kaiser, por la creación de un Comité Asesor Latino para continuar este fructífero diálogo en el futuro.”

Fundada en 1991, la Agenda Nacional de Liderazgo Hispano (NHLA, por sus siglas en inglés) reúne a líderes hispanos para establecer las prioridades de política pública para lidiar con y concientizar al público sobre los principales problemas que afectan a la comunidad latina y a la nación en general.

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The Kennedy Center


(WASHINGTON, D.C) (July 7, 2013)— Michael M. Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, today announced a review of the Kennedy Center Honors selection process. This review is part of a thorough and extensive process to improve the process so the Honors program continues to reflect the full range of artistic excellence in the years ahead. In addition, the Kennedy Center will also form a Latino Advisory Committee to establish a more open and collaborative engagement with the Hispanic community.

In September of last year, the Kennedy Center board of trustees formed a committee co-chaired by Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein and Elaine Wynn to identify improvements to the Honoree selection process. Additionally, an 11-member artist advisory panel has been created and has begun work. This panel includes Gabriel Abaroa, President and CEO of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; actress Debbie Allen, Roberto Bedoya, Executive Director of Tucson Prima Arts Council; Maria de Leon, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture; Broadway actor Rául Esparza; cellist Yo- Yo Ma; former congressman and Cabinet secretary Norman Mineta; Joseph Polisi, President of The Juilliard School; Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF; Carlton Turner of Alternate ROOTS; and Damian Woetzel, dancer and member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

The Kennedy Center expects these committees to complete their work and make recommendations to the Center’s full board of trustees in advance of the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors selection process. “Over the course of 35 years, the Kennedy Center Honors has grown in stature and importance to become the preeminent award for cultural achievement in the United States,” stated Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser. “While the Center has a strong track record of diversity throughout its other performance, education and arts education programs, it is important to undertake this review process to ensure the Honors reflect the diversity of those who have contributed to American culture.”

In addition to the Honors process, the Kennedy Center is committed to bolstering both its track record on diversity and its relationship with the Hispanic community. To this end, the Center will form a Latino Advisory Committee which will meet quarterly to focus on these key goals.

As the national center for the performing arts, the Kennedy Center embraces its mandate to present the very finest in the performing arts, locally, nationally, and internationally. Since its earliest days, the Center has featured preeminent artists and a full range of programming from around the world. Like so many other cultural heritages and traditions represented on Kennedy Center stages, Latino arts and programs have enjoyed a consistent and dynamic presence. Beyond its own stages, the Kennedy Center has included Hispanic artistic cultural organizations in outreach and educational programming, which reaches millions of people of all ages in every U.S. state each year.

Since 2001, the Kennedy Center Arts Management Institute, now named the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center, has mentored and trained thousands of arts managers at all levels of professional development. To date, the Institute has worked with more than 50 Latino arts organizations in order to strengthen and build these groups which are so important to the cultural tapestry in the United States and abroad.

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