Global retail chain Walmart has come under fire for the oversight of a racial slur used on their website. REUTERS

Walmart’s Pepe Estrada on Supporting the New National Museum of the American Latino

Originally published at corporate.walmart.com. Director, Constituent Relations at Walmart. Walmart ranked No. 26 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022. 

 

Our diverse backgrounds and experiences make our communities — and our country — stronger. To better understand the history and lived experiences of our neighbors, we must invest in telling their stories so we can learn more about who we are as a nation.

I am honored to share that today, the Smithsonian announced that Walmart made a $5 million donation to support the new National Museum of the American Latino, which will showcase Latinas and Latinos who have helped shape the United States. The gift through the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity makes Walmart a founding donor of the museum.

This will be the first Smithsonian museum dedicated to showcasing Latinx history and culture in the U.S. It will allow visitors to learn about how diverse Latinx communities have long advanced our country’s goals of democracy, freedom and economic opportunity in pursuit of the American Dream.

As the Smithsonian builds the museum, it will launch its first physical presence through the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian is also offering virtual resources, so that anyone from any location can access this celebration of Latinx history and culture. The gallery includes an eye-opening new project titled “Somos,” named for the Spanish verb “We are,” which captures the rich diversity of the Latinx experience, from unique immigration stories to the different races, identities and nationalities that make up the community. You can watch a preview here.

As an immigrant and a father, it is deeply personal to me to see this storytelling come to life. Years ago, my daughter returned home from school upset after a career day because none of the speakers looked like her. As we have done many times as a family, we shared examples of many Latinas and Latinos and their contributions to the country. Now, I am filled with optimism as generations of young people will have the opportunity to learn about how the Latinx experience is deeply intertwined with the story of our country.

And as a Walmart associate working in close partnership with Latinx organizations in my role in our constituent relations team, I am proud that Walmart is supporting this effort through the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity. It is an example of how the center invests in intersectional efforts to lift up communities of color across the country through its work to build racial solidarity. The idea of “Somos” — who we are — is at the core of this investment. Celebrating and strengthening our diverse communities helps each of us gain deeper empathy and understanding, and ultimately empowers us to work better together so we can all realize the promise of our nation.

Walmart’s support of the museum builds on the company’s longtime support for the Latinx community. The opening of a Sam’s Club in Mexico marked the company’s first step into the international market in 1991. Over decades of being part of the Latinx community in the U.S., Walmart has not only become one of the largest employers of Latinx people in the country, it has also been a business partner for Latinx-owned businesses and suppliers. At the same time, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have partnered with numerous Hispanic-led organizations to support programs that advance education, workforce development, upskilling, nutrition education and health and wellness.

I am thrilled to see this next step of Walmart’s support to the Latinx community unfold, and look forward to the possibilities that arise when people can access the deeper history of the Latinx experience in the U.S.

For more information on Walmart’s commitment to diversity, inclusion through philanthropy, please visit Walmart.org.

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