Following a lawsuit with the American Alliance for Equal Rights, the Smithsonian now states that a Latino-focused internship is available to all students regardless of race. Sara Cottle/Unsplash

NEW YORK CITY - Following a lawsuit by the American Alliance for Equal Rights, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Latino stated that a Latino-focused internship program is now "equally open to students of all races and ethnicities," CNN reported.

The lawsuit claimed the Smithsonian's Latino Museum Studies Program undergraduate internship violated the US Constitution by discriminating based on race and ethnicity, stating the program hadn't hired any non-Latino interns in the past two years it operated, 2022 and 2023.

"When the Alliance sued, the Museum said the internship was 'for Latina, Latino and Latinx-identifying undergraduate students' and focused on 'increasing the representation of Latina and Latino museum professionals," the American Alliance for Equal Rights said in a statement.

In a settlement agreement filed Tuesday, the Smithsonian agreed to add a statement to its application that the internship does not give preference or restrict "selection based on race or ethnicity."

Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said in an email that she would "let the settlement speak for itself" and declined further comment. In court documents the museum said it has never considered race when reviewing internship applications, The Washington Post reported.

Following the settlement, the internship program's website now says in bold: "The Undergraduate Internship is equally open to students of all races and ethnicities, without preference or restriction based on ethnicity. The Museum does not use racial or ethnic classifications or preferences in selecting awardees for the Undergraduate Internship."

The language added to the website as part of the settlement now explicitly spells out what had already been the museum's practice, David Coronado, a spokesperson for the Museum said in an email to CNN.

The legal dispute with the Smithsonian is not the first of its kind from Blum and American Alliance for Equal Rights. In fact, it is the latest development in their efforts targeting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs across the country following the Supreme Court case that gutted affirmative action last year.

In August, Blum sued two international law firms over their diversity fellowships, but he later dropped one of the lawsuits after the firm decided to open its fellowship to all associates, according to CNN.

Last month, the Supreme Court rejected a request from another of Blum's group, Students for Fair Admissions, to temporarily block the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from race-conscious admissions.

He is currently also in a legal battle with the Fearless Fund, a Black women-owned venture capitalist fund, over its grant program that offers funding exclusively to Black women entrepreneurs.

Since last year's Supreme Court decisions, anti-DEI efforts have been made across different sectors, including corporate America, schools and higher education in recent months.

Dariely Rodriguez, deputy chief counsel for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which filed an amicus brief in the Smithsonian case, said the organization is "pleased that the internship program will proceed as it was designed — open to all applicants while specifically addressing the underrepresentation of Latinos in the museum industry.

On the other hand, before the settlement, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said in its brief, filed a song with a group of Latino organizations, that the plaintiffs were using the equal protection clause as a "bludgeon to deter equal opportunity."

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