Forced resignation hits National Hispanic Cultural

Forced resignation hits National Hispanic Cultural

first_imgForced resignation hits National Hispanic Cultural Center AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email In this May 29, 2014 photo, Rebecca Avitia, executive director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, poses in Albuquerque, N.M. Avitia, who is credited with turning around the long-struggling center, was told to resign after Thanksgiving. The new administration declined her offer to stay until a new leader was selected, Avitia said. (Roberto E. Rosales/The Albuquerque Journal via AP) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The National Hispanic Cultural Center of New Mexico is among the state agencies hit with forced resignations as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham begins her term.Rebecca Avitia, the centre’s executive director who is credited with turning around the long-struggling centre, was told to resign after Thanksgiving. The new administration declined her offer to stay until a new leader was selected, Avitia said.In a letter to staff, Avitia said she was humbled to have served as leader of a centre that has attracted international Latino performers, writers, artists and flamenco dancers. “You have shown me what it really means to be humble, brave, vulnerable, fun, and — above all — loving,” she wrote.Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki said Avitia was an exempt employee and the governor asked all exempt employees to resign. “The new secretary-designate of Cultural Affairs, Debra Garcia y Griego, is now beginning the process of identifying leadership at the NHCC,” Stelnicki said.Avitia told The Associated Press she opted not to reapply for her position after receiving a letter ordering her to resign. She applied for other positions within the Lujan Grisham administration but was not selected, she said.In 2013, Avitia, a Democrat, was appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez to lead the centre. Her appointment came after a national search and a two-year vacancy following years of mismanagement, a lack of fundraising and an unclear direction.Avitia, a Columbia University Law School graduate and former prosecutor, was the first woman to lead the centre.Under Avitia, the Albuquerque-based centre nearly tripled the number of events it held and saw revenue grow to $1 million last year despite decreases in state aid. Prior to her arrival, revenue was barely at $250,000 a year, according to the centre.The $56 million centre opened in 2000 after more than 20 years of work by activists. Located along the historic El Camino Real route — the road Spanish explorers used to travel between Mexico City and Santa Fe — officials with the centre worked to make it one of the state’s major tourist attractions.But the centre saw nine executive and interim executive directors until Avitia took over. She was the centre’s longest-serving executive director.The National Hispanic Cultural Center functions as a museum and performance centre. It also has a genealogy and cultural library and a Spanish-language institute.The centre has slowly gained national attention from artists and writers. Recently, novelist Sandra Cisneros loaned some of her personal items for an exhibit. It also has played host to performers such as Mexican singer-songwriter Lila Downs and has rented out space to opera groups.Avitia said she has not made a decision on her next career move but wanted to help migrant children.___Associated Press journalist Russell Contreras is a member of the AP’s race and ethnicity team. Follow Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontrerasRussell Contreras, The Associated Press by Russell Contreras, The Associated Press Posted Jan 4, 2019 12:01 pm PDTlast_img

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