Statements of support

Lots of people have already shared why their want El Museo del Barrio to better reflect the Latinx experience. Want to share why you signed the Mirror Manifesto? Let the world know!

Send your own statement of support to elmuseodelosbarrios@gmail.com

“I signed to challenge the physical & symbolic gentrification of Museo del Barrio and to affirm its identity as a proudly diasporic Latinx community space rather than another elite Latin American artistic venue.” – Jonathan Rosa, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University, CA

“The founding of El Museo del Barrio was our way to decolonize our reality, racial and ethnic identity, creative expression and history. It was our way to bring together our global roots. It was the bridge that connected with our people on the island of Boriken and with the people of the world. Our children have always been at the center of this mission. El Museo is our people’s heritage, liberation and sovereignty. We should always defend it and wrest it from those who want to change it.”– Juan Sánchez, Artist and Professor of Art and Art History, Hunter College, New York, NY

“The strength of any institution is in its uniqueness; what it has to offer that others do not, which is what it makes it relevant. El Museo del Barrio’s strength has always been in its ability to creatively present powerful and alternative voices in order to counter the homogenizing forces of mainstream culture dictated by corporate museums and globalized market-driven aesthetics.  I signed to protect this legacy.” – Elvis Fuentes, Independent Curator, New York, NY

“The reason I sign this statement is because as a Latinx artist and cultural worker I feel that we  need and must define who we are in a more clear and concise way. We who live here suffer from neglect and are too often overlooked and not included in projects or exhibitions here in the USA because they want to include those living outside of the country. At the same time we are not included in our native countries because we don’t live there. So it appears that we have no homeland. We are excluded because we are the other: not black enough, not white enough, not foreign enough, not living there, living here. Therefore, this ambiguity allows our exclusion. Latinx refers to the diasporic population who live in the USA, and together we will be more powerful in the demands of what we clearly deserve and should receive. Latinxs will have to be heard.” – Charo Oquet is an interdisciplinary artist and Founding Director of Edge Zones Art Space and the Miami Performance International Festival, Miami, FL

“This is the statement we all need to embrace as multiple organizations and institutions seem to take advantage of the ambiguities around Latinidad. We are not announcing a nationalism that ignores and rejects transnationalism; we are privileging the communities for whom El Museo del Barrio was envisioned, the diasporic Latinx population.” – Karen Mary Davalos, Professor of Chicano and Latino Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN

“I signed this letter because it provides a much needed model of smart leadership for the arts community in NYC. I also signed because I teach at CUNY, where my talented and ambitious Latinx students come to class alter court struggling to fight gentrification so their families can keep their low rent apartments. Their NYCHA housing is in disrepair and their bus service is being cut back from outlying areas. I watch them being squeezed in every way by this rich city, and what is happening at El Museo is just one more piece of indifference to their creative potential. We must do better by them.” – Linda Martín Alcoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, New York, NY

“Building cultural institutions in our image is to provide an authentic perspective and voice to the spectrum of our aesthetic and lived experiences and contributions to the world. When the narrowing of those experiences occur by our own to imitate those who have colonized and oppressed and attempted to silence us we need to stand up!” Marta Moreno Vega, President, Creative Justice Initiative, Puerto Rico and New York

“El Museo needs to do better and be held accountable for not making space for folks from our barrios within the institution. For this reason, I made the decision to sign the Mirror Manifesto demanding change from El Museo to make space for “our children, young artists, and arts professionals.” – Jessica Enriquez, NYU student, and member of MexSA (Mexican Students Association), New York, NY

“El Museo del Barrio’s board composition and recent hires defy mandates to diversify museum boards and personnel in New York and across the nation. Excuses offered by the board that all the good candidates for the positions of Director and Chief Curator already have jobs—that no Latinx arts professionals are available to hire are untrue. A director and chief curator with first hand experience growing up this nation, which has disparaged the art and culture of Black and Brown people for centuries, must be hired for El Museo del Barrio to execute its mission in a meaningful way.” – Yasmín Ramírez, Ph.D. Independent art historian, curator, New York, NY

“I signed because there are multi issues within the major issues which is the marginalization of our Puerto Rican culture within this institution. We cannot support a system that seems to hire international art workers while we ignore our own artists and intellectuals who have dedicated their lives to this study.” – Jesús Papoleto-Meléndez, Poet Laureate del Barrio, New York, NY

“Its a vicious circle built on systemic racism. Latin American collectors like minimal euro based art not art from the “pueblo” or indigenous(pre/postcolonial) aesthetics (which is my art)–we Brown artists cant rise on our own. We need help from galleries, curators institutions and scholars who have decolonized because the detrimental legacy of Casta has kept marginalized communities in check by defining and controlling the axioms that dictate value and meaning. It is imperative that institutions recognize and actively dismantle these racist colonial systems of power.” – Tlisza Jaurique, Artist and Critical Theorist, New York, NY

“I signed because it is terrible to see that it’s had to come to this, and I hope others take a similar stand. El Museo del Barrio has been a mess for a while now but the latest is just offensive. We aren’t “critics” we are the community El Museo was built by and for.” – Andrew Padilla, Artist born and raised in El Barrio, New York, NY

“I support the goal of holding our publicly funded institutions accountable to ensure they do not succumb to the taste and interests of wealthy patrons and collectors. At a moment when we are demanding mainstream institutions decolonize and diversify their staff, boards and collections it is imperative that we also scrutinize “our own” institutions to ensure that they are representative of our community and our multidiverse identities, and that they are truly racially diverse. I also signed for the future of my brilliant Latinx students who lack institutional resources to learn and see artists who look like them.” – Arlene Dávila, Prof. of Anthropology and American Studies, New York University, New York, NY

“The hiring of Rodrigo Moura as Chief Curator is only the latest misstep in a series of decisions that have taken the museum in a direction away from Puerto Rican/Latinx artistic community and concerns. The announcement of the curatorial position specializing in Latinx art is a band aid. El Museo del Barrio was founded by artists, activists and parents who were concerned about not being represented in the city’s cultural institutions. The institution must respect and be aware of its history and the community – past and present – to which it belongs. From this side, I perceive a hierarchy of Latin American art over artists, histories and Latinx production that literally emanate from the immediate surroundings of the museum.” – Marina Reyes Franco, Independent Curator, San Juan, Puerto Rico

“Among other things, this petition warns of certain Latino American-centrism that is often blind to the particularity of Latinx issues (and, one might add, Caribbean issues as well). To be sure the Barrio and Puerto Rico are bridges that connect multiple spaces, locally, nationally, and internationally, and that, more than anything perhaps, call attention to problems such as the continuity of colonialism, the legacies of racialization and slavery, the ensuing conceptualization of bodies and desires that emerge in this context, second-class citizenship, and the coloniality of the imposition of and the exclusion from citizenship status in the U.S. and across the Latinx Americas. This petition advances or invites one to consider this kind of broader perspective on what is Latinx today, which connects to the ways in which RAICCS has also advanced the concept of the Caribbean–as different from a traditional ‘area studies’ focus.” – N. Maldonado-Torres, Director Rutgers Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies, (RAICCS) Rutgers University, New Jersey

“I signed because I teach Latinx students. I care that they see themselves reflected powerfully not only in my syllabi but in the institutions that purport to also teach them about their histories, lives, and contributions.” – Jacqueline Nassy Brown, Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies, Hunter college, New York, NY

“I signed to support the future of Latinx art and to honor the important legacy of El Museo del Barrio and the struggle that made such a museum possible” – Charlene Villaseñor-Black, Professor of Art History & Chicana/o Studies, Associate Director Chicano Studies Research Center, Founding Editor in Chief of Latin American & Latinx Visual Culture, and Editor, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

“Our working class Latinx barrios are at the core of what makes New York City great. They demand and deserve a space that narrates their achievements and histories in ways that are thoughtful, inclusive, and representative of their experiences. The best way to achieve this is by recommitting El Museo del Barrio to its important mission. Out of love for the institution, but primarily out of respect for the rich and complex histories of our communities, and the incredible potential of our futures, we have come together to put a stop to the dynamics that have contributed to the institutionalization of our invisibility. We are going to take El Museo del Barrio back, and everybody is going to be better because of it. The best times are still ahead of us.” – Monxo López, PhD., Bronx, NY

“The community is a tree with many roots and El Museo needs to reflect this multiplicity in its programming, staffing, curation” – Marcus Zilliox, Artist, New York, NY

“I signed to support all efforts to draw attention to the way that cultural institutions continuously exploit claims to “diversity” without actually serving the very communities whose identities, life experiences, and disadvantages are indexed by that claim. It is time that Latinx artists stop being erased by the deracinated category of Latin American art.” – Mary K. Coffey,  Associate Professor of Art History, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire