Sens. Menendez, Cornyn Joined by Reps. Becerra and Ros-Lehtinen in Calling for an American Latino Museum

Sens. Menendez, Cornyn Joined by Reps. Becerra and Ros-Lehtinen in Calling for an American Latino Museum

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, was joined today by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in reintroducing legislation calling for a Smithsonian museum on the American Latino Museum. The legislation (S.3314) seeks to authorize the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries building on the National Mall as the designated location of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum. On the House of Representatives side, Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) joined Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in introducing H.R. 6001 as companion legislation.

Today’s bicameral reintroduction marks an important step forward in the fight to ensure the Latino and Latina voice in the U.S. is represented, and keeps pace with the progress of a community that is now more than 56 million strong, represents over 17 percent of the U.S. population, and carries over centuries of contributions to our nation.

“Hispanic Americans have contributed to our country since its founding, and it is because of that indisputable part of the American story that I have been working for years to establish a museum that tells those stories,” said Sen. Menendez. “At a time when some seek to reject our nation’s rich multiculturalism and rewrite our history, I’m very proud to introduce this bipartisan, commonsense legislation for Congress to officially recognize the Latino story as an integral part of America’s past, present and future. Our future generations should have a central source to learn about the contributions Latinos and Latinas have made to our great country.”

“There’s no better time to establish an American Latino Museum than right now. It’s so important to see yourself reflected in the jewels — the artifacts and treasures of the Smithsonian — that America uses to display her beauty,” said Rep. Becerra. “The success of America could not have been accomplished without the successes of Latinos. But right now, when people from all over the world visit Washington, D.C., they leave without having an understanding of what it means to be an American of Latino descent. There are some 57 million Latinos who are essentially missing from the National Mall. The American Latino museum can change this.”

"Our first efforts dedicated to the historic preservation of the Hispanic culture began over a decade ago, and this bill to establish the Latino Museum will bring us a step closer in providing a home to showcase our community's invaluable legacy,” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. “Our history and heritage has been embedded in the United States for centuries, and we remain the nation's largest ethnic group, bringing our contributions every day to the American way of life. The creation of this Museum will allow for those stories to be told, and will serve as an educational tool to visitors who are eager to learn about American history while empowering future generations of Hispanic-Americans. As we prepare to embark on the celebrations surrounding Hispanic Heritage Month, I am proud to join my colleagues, Xavier, Bob and John, in reintroducing the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act.”