Sending Office: Honorable J. Luis Correa
Sent By:
Alejandro.Renteria@mail.house.gov

Support the Smithsonian American Latino Museum

Deadline – Thursday, March 15th at Noon

 

Dear Colleague:

 

We invite you to join in signing the following bipartisan letter encouraging the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
to include report language in support for the creation of the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Latinos Initiative Pool, and a future Smithsonian American Latino Museum in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations bill. 

 

Latinos are among the major contributors to our nation who are not permanently recognized in Smithsonian Institution programs. The creation of a Smithsonian
American Latino Museum would not only be a monument for Latinos, but would also serve as a “…21st Century learning laboratory rooted in the mission that every American should have access to the stories of all Americans.”

 

We hope you will join us in supporting the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Latino Initiatives Pool, and the future Smithsonian American Latino Museum to help
illuminate the understanding and appreciation of Latinos’ contributions to American history, society, and culture.    

 

If you have any questions or would like to sign onto the letter, please contact Gabriella Boffelli with Representative Ros-Lehtinen at
Gabriella.Boffelli@mail.house.gov or Alejandro Renteria with Representative Correa at
Alejandro.Renteria@mail.house.gov.

 

 

Dear Chairman Calvert and Ranking Member McCollum:

 

We respectfully request that the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies include report language in support of the Smithsonian
American Latino Museum and Smithsonian Latino Initiatives in its Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill.

 

We thank the Committee and Subcommittee for its consistent support of report language and funding over the last several years supporting Latino programs, exhibitions,
collections and public outreach (Latino Initiatives Pool) and the Smithsonian Latino Center and in the FY2018 House Committee report for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill (H. Rept. 115-238 to H.R. 3354).
Language and funding supporting these programs and the creation of a Smithsonian American Latino Museum were also included in the Senate appropriations chairman’s explanatory statement on their FY2018 draft bill.

 

It is our hope that the Committee will support the following language:

 

The committee strongly supports the creation of a future Smithsonian American Latino Museum, and in the meantime supports the Smithsonian Latino Center and
its goal of promoting the inclusion of Latino contributions in Smithsonian Institution programs, exhibitions, collections, and public outreach. In accordance with the recommendations provided to Congress and the President of the United States in the May 2011
report by the National Museum of the American Latino Commission (created by P.L. 110-229), the Committee urges collaboration among interested parties to advance these goals more fully by utilizing existing Smithsonian Institution locations on the National
Mall for the long-term expansion of the Smithsonian Latino Center’s programming, exhibition and collection space.

 

Expressing explicit support for the Smithsonian American Latino Museum remains essential, as it has been over twenty years since a Smithsonian Institution Task
Force on Latino Issues first formally documented that Latinos were among the major contributors to our nation not permanently recognized at the landmark museum complex. A few years later, in 1997, the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents established the Smithsonian
Latino Center (SLC) as a pan-institutional unit that would work with the entire network of Smithsonian museums, research centers, the National Zoo, and over 140 affiliates across the nation to foster the understanding and appreciation of Latinos’ contributions
to American history, society, and culture. 

 

While the creation of the SLC marked an important step forward, the progress of representing Latinos’ contributions to the U.S. has not kept pace with the progress
of a community that is now 55 million strong, represents approximately 17 percent of the U.S. population, and carries over five centuries of contributions to our great nation.

 

For this reason, in 2003, we introduced a bill to explore the potential creation of a national museum in Washington, D.C. recognizing the contributions of Latinos
to the United States. The bipartisan act of Congress (P.L. 110-229) was enacted on May 8, 2008, establishing a bipartisan commission of 23 leaders tasked with researching recommendations for a plan of action to establish and maintain such a museum.

 

The National Museum of the American Latino Commission submitted its report to the President and Congress in May of 2011. In November of that year, a bipartisan,
bicameral bill, the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act, was introduced to implement the Commission’s recommendations. This legislation was re-introduced with similar bipartisan and bicameral support in the 113th Congress (S.568/H.R.1217), 114th Congress
(S. 1364/H.R.3314), and 115th Congress (S.1364/H.R.2941).

 

As the Commission eloquently declares in its report, “At this moment in our country’s history when cultural understanding could not be more important to the
enduring strength of our democratic ideals, we ask that you consider the importance of creating The Smithsonian American Latino Museum not only as a monument for Latinos but as a 21st Century learning laboratory rooted in the mission that every American should
have access to the stories of all Americans.”

 

We hope you will join us in supporting the commission’s well-researched recommendation that the time has come for us to help illuminate the American story for
all. Let us start by expressing our support for the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Latino Initiatives Pool, and a future Smithsonian American Latino Museum in the FY 2019 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

 

                                                                        Sincerely,

 

 

_________________________                                              ________________________

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen                                                                J. Luis Correa

Member of Congress                                                              Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Education, Immigration

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