DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Donna F. Edwards
Sent By: anne.nelson@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/31/2016

Dear Colleague:

During Women’s History Month and on the heels of Black History Month, during the year of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, we write to highlight the importance of ensuring that our national parks and monuments recognize and celebrate the diversity of American history.   As a nation, it is important for the places we honor to tell the diverse stories of all Americans, to remind us of our past and inspire future generations.

An analysis by the Center for American Progress found that less than a quarter of National Parks and Monuments have a primary focus on women, communities of color, or other traditionally underrepresented groups.  Thankfully, the Antiquities Act, which allows Presidents to designate national monuments, has played a key role in protecting the places that recognize the contributions of women and underrepresented groups in our parks. A total of 33% of presidential designations are inclusive as compared to only 22% of congressional designations.

President Obama’s 2013 designation of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland serves as a perfect example of the role of the Antiquities Act in protecting public lands that tell the stories of our diverse history.  Established to celebrate the life and work of Harriet Tubman, this national monument consists of 11,750 acres of marshes, fields, and forests that today remain much the same as when Tubman was navigating them while leading others to freedom. Harriet Tubman fought tirelessly for the Union cause, for the rights of enslaved people, for the rights of women, and for the rights of all, and her contributions should be fittingly honored in our park system.

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument and other recently designated monuments represent significant milestones in our nation’s history and have helped expand our national park system to better reflect the diverse cultural and historical events and figures throughout American history.

Unfortunately, the Antiquities Act, the vital tool for adding to our national parks and protecting our history, has faced a number of attacks in the current Congress.  Incredibly, more than 20 bills and amendments have been introduced to undermine the Antiquities Act and block efforts to designate and protect cultural and historic national treasures.

As women Members of Congress, we encourage our colleagues to recognize the importance of our national parks and monuments in telling the diverse stories of all Americans, especially women.  We urge our colleagues to honor women’s history and our national park service’s 100th anniversary by opposing any efforts to undermine the Antiquities Act and block new parks.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

DONNA F. EDWARDS                                                  CORRINE BROWN

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

 

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON                                        YVETTE D. CLARKE

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

 

GRACE F. NAPOLITANO                                               BARBARA LEE

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

 

SHEILA JACKSON LEE                                                TERRI A. SEWELL

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

 

SUZAN DELBENE                                                          SUZANNE BONAMICI

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

 

DINA TITUS                                                                  LOIS CAPPS

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

 

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ                                  FREDERICA S. WILSON

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

 

DORIS MATSUI                                                           MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

 

CAROLYN B. MALONEY                                               ANNA G. ESHOO

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

 

STACEY PLASKETT                                                     ROSA DELAURO

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

 

 

ELIZABETH H. ESTY                                                   BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

JUDY CHU                                                                   GRACE MENG

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress