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LA Plaza Joins the Smithsonian, CAM and JANM to Present “Our Shared Future Los Angeles” Initiative

The Chinese American Museum (CAM), Japanese American National Museum (JANM), and LA Plaza de Culturas y Artes (LA Plaza)—will present Our Shared Future Los Angeles, a collaborative series of public programs for the Smithsonian Initiative, Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past from December 1–17, 2023.

With programs that range from symposia and panel discussions to films and family activities, Our Shared Future Los Angeles will highlight the dynamic and multicultural nature of the arts in Los Angeles and encourage community members to experience all three museums. The culminating Family Day on Sunday, December 17, will take place at all three venues simultaneously and include activities from other Southern California attractions, welcoming Angelenos of all ages to celebrate the diversity of the city. A full schedule of programs and ticket details will be available at

CAM and LA Plaza are conveniently located near Union Station, and JANM is just one Metro stop away at Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, making travel to and among the three museums easy via Metro.

A national initiative of the Smithsonian, Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past explores the history and legacy of race and racism, sparks positive social change, and builds a more equitable shared future. Founding partner is Bank of America.

The Los Angeles series will kick off at JANM on Friday, December 1, at 10 a.m. At the beginning of the event, visitors will have the opportunity to explore the exhibition The Bias Inside Us, an interactive project about the science and history of bias and what people can do about it. The session opens with a keynote address along with a plenary session, “Conversations on Race: Opening the Dialogue,” which looks at the intersection of Race, Wealth, Wellness, and the Arts. Speakers will include Leticia Rhi Buckley, CEO, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes; Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Public Health Director; James E. Herr, Director of the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy at JANM; Karen Mack, Executive Director of LA Commons, and Dr. Robert K. Ross, CEO and president of The California Endowment. Admission is free.

On Sunday, December 3, at 1 p.m., LA Plaza will host the free program American Latinos in Hollywood: Struggles and Achievements in the Film and TV Industry. American Latino filmmakers and film artists will discuss their careers within the business of Hollywood and the creation of culturally impactful on-screen representations in the multi-platform media age. Guest speakers will be Dr. Alma Martinez, actor, professor and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Rafael Agustín, TV writer (Jane The Virgin), author (Illegally Yours), and Board Member of the National Film Preservation Board at the Library of Congress; Angel Manuel Soto, filmmaker and director and producer of Blue Beetle; and Nancy de los Santos, writer, producer, and director with extensive experience in television production, film production, theatre, and print media. Luis I. Reyes, a scholar, author and lecturer who specializes in the history of Latinos in the Hollywood film industry, will moderate the panel.

Three programs will explore the multicultural influences and intersections that shape Los Angeles’s food culture. On Sunday, December 3, at 2 p.m., JANM will present Cross Cultural Cuisine: The Art of Bringing People Together, a free afternoon program of conversation and food with restaurateurs, chefs, entrepreneurs, and culture commentators that will explore cross-cultural influences on ethnic cuisine in America. A reception catered by The Park’s Finest immediately follows the discussion.  LA Plaza will host Plática y Prueba: From China to Mexicali on Thursday, December 7, at 7 p.m. The program will explore how Chinese immigration to Baja California beginning in the late 19th century has contributed to Mexicali’s social, economic, cultural, and gastronomic development. Tickets are $40 and include the informal plática with Maite Gomez-Rejón of ArtBites followed by Chinese/Mexican appetizers. Back at JANM on Friday, December 8, a screening of the bilingual film Backstreet to the American Dream (2021, 102 minutes), directed by Patricia Nazario, examines the classic American Dream through what has become the quintessential 21st-century entrepreneurial endeavor—the food truck.

On Saturday, December 9, and Sunday, December 10, CAM will present LA 1871, a two-day symposium and special performance that will focus on the history of the Los Angeles Chinese Massacre of 1871. Speakers will provide historical context on Saturday, and day two features music by award-winning composer, Nathan Wang.

Our Shared Future Los Angeles will conclude with a free family celebration, taking place at CAM, JANM, and LA Plaza and including offerings from other Southern California museums including the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, Columbia Memorial Space Center, and the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) on Sunday, December 17, from noon to 4 p.m. An afternoon of free admission and cultural activities for all ages will explore the rich history of Los Angeles and honor the city’s diversity. Families are encouraged to visit all three museums for multicultural art-making workshops, storytelling, music and dance performances, and more.

December programming at the Museum of Latin American Art relating to the themes of Our Shared Future Los Angeles include Free Guided Tours on Sundays, December 3, 10, and 17; a Corner Garden Workshop led by teaching artist Maria Guadalupe on December 3; a Community Art Workshop inspired by the architectural nature of Alexandre Arrechea’s exhibition Intersected Horizons on December 7,

Additional Program partners for Our Shared Future include Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, California Black Freedom Fund, Columbia Memorial Science Center, and the Museum of Latin American Art.