Celebrate the history of LAUP with a new Holland Museum exhibit

Holland Museum’s new exhibit, United for Progress: The LAUP Story, tells the history of the community’s oldest and most influential Hispanic organization. 

Since its inception in 1964, LAUP, short for Latin Americans United for Progress, has been a driving force for change in the Holland community. By focusing on a wide range of topics impacting the Latinx community — including education, cultural activities, community involvement, and discrimination — LAUP has spent decades promoting a more equitable Holland for all.

Opening Aug. 20, United for Progress: The LAUP Story will explore the organizations’ history, how it has evolved, and how it continues to serve the Latinx and greater Holland community to this day.

“We are excited to highlight the history of this important organization in the Holland community,” says Executive Director Ricki Levine. “Celebrating LAUP’s story and the positive impact it has had for decades is an integral piece of Holland’s history.”

Oral histories gathered

Preliminary research for the exhibit began in 2020 with the support of a research intern, who gathered oral histories from families and individuals connected to LAUP. The intern has continued as a volunteer to research the exhibit and is now employed as a Hope College teacher assistant with support from a Mellon Foundation Grant collaboratively obtained by Hope College and the museum through fall 2021. The Mellon grant will fund the transformation of the museum exhibit material into a future digital exhibit. Exhibit labels will be bilingual, and attendees will experience interactive stations. 

“The Action Station” will provide a space for visitors to respond to the exhibit and explore a display of quotes and photos from students, family members, and community members of the Latinx community.

Holland Museum is grateful for its exhibit sponsors: premiere sponsor, In Memory of Rebecca “Becky” Arenas, “Si, Se Puede”; collaboration sponsor, Horizon Bank; and media sponsor, WGVU Public Media, PBS/NPR.

Exhibit programs

The exhibit is on display through Jan. 17, 2022. Upcoming public programming includes:

3 … 2 … 1 A Volar! (3 … 2 … 1 Let’s Fly!)
Saturday, Aug. 21, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Holland Museum Spark!Lab, Family Program
Hear the story, “The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ellen Ochoa,” the first Latina to travel to outer space. Explore Spark! Lab and participate in space-themed experiments!

Latin Americans United for Progress: Its Past, Present, and Future
Thursday, Aug. 26, 7-8:30 p.m., Holland Museum, free, adult program
There will be a panel discussion about LAUP’s history and achievements, its present mission, and its future with current and past LAUP change-makers: Yadah V. Ramirez, LAUP programs director; the Rev. Benito Aguilera, LAUP interim director; Martin Veliz, LAUP board treasurer; and Alfredo Gonzales, LAUP founding member.

Other public programs are currently being planned for this exhibit. For the most up-to-date information on the Holland Museum and to sign up for programs, visit www.hollandmuseum.org or call the museum at 616-796-3329.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.