House and Senate lawmakers stress the need to build Latino and women’s museums on National Mall

House and Senate lawmakers stress the need to build Latino and women’s museums on National Mall

In a truly historic win late last year, a measure establishing a Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino (along with a second measure establishing the American Women’s History Museum), was passed into law. It was an effort years in the making, with the first bill seeking to establish a Latino museum introduced nearly two decades ago. 

Dozens of bipartisan legislators in both the House and Senate are now urging Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch to ensure both museums are built on or near the National Mall. 

Lawmakers wrote this intent in legislation last year, but said in the letters that they wanted to “take this opportunity to re-emphasize” the importance of the location, which apparently can still be up to the museum boards. “Per the legislation that was signed into law, the location of the future museum must be determined within two years of the passage of the bill, meaning December 2022,” Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino said. “The urgency is clear.”

“With more than 25 million people visiting the National Mall each year, it comes as no surprise that many Smithsonian Institutions have claimed this area as their home and best for the diffusion of knowledge,” bicameral lawmakers wrote in their letters. “The addition of the two new Museums on the Mall will further the Smithsonian’s mission by showcasing and highlighting the untold and overlooked contributions to our nation of both women and Latinos.”

“It is fitting that these two museums be prominently located in the two-mile area we describe above as that will help ensure that more visitors will be able to enjoy and learn from them,” the lawmakers continued. Click here for a full list of letter signatories. 

I’m proud to have fought for decades to secure the establishment of and funding for the @latinomuseum, and now as we consider sites to make it a reality, I’m leading this effort to ensure these museums are located prominently on the National Mall for all to enjoy.

— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) November 23, 2021

Congress passed legislation creating a Latino museum as part of a year-end spending bill last December. Both the Latino and Women’s museums were nearly stifled by one single man when Utah’s Mike Lee single-handedly blocked the measures. “Lee suggested that Latinos were not subjected to systemic racism or erasure of their history,” NBC News reported at the time. But advocates for the Latino museum said they’d been at this for years and were not about to let Mike Lee stop them. They won out.

The Latino museum’s board of trustees was also finalized this past summer, among them California Rep. Tony Cárdenas, chef and humanitarian José Andrés, and actor and activist Eva Longoria. “The board of trustees of the National Museum of the American Latino advises the Board of Regents and makes recommendations on the location, planning, design, and construction of the museum; helps with fundraising; acquires artifacts; and provides for the maintenance of the collections,” the Smithsonian continued.

“Latinos are not a recent patch being sown on the tapestry of America. We are a foundational thread woven into the very fabric of America.” – @dvargas👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Watch the rest here 👉🏽 https://t.co/KuU0GCPdkQ #LatinoMuseumNow #BuildItOnTheNationalMall pic.twitter.com/T8fr1NOW1Q

— Latino Museum (@latinomuseum) November 19, 2021

“We applaud the bipartisan work of both chambers of Congress for holding the Smithsonian Institution accountable for what the National Museum of the American Latino Act explicitly calls for: that our museum is built on the National Mall,” Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino chair Lili Gil Valletta said. “With over 500 years of contributions and as America’s largest diverse segment of the population, it’s imperative that Mr. Bunch and the Board of Regents take action to secure a location on the National Mall.”

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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