FRIENDS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN LATINO CONGRATULATES JORGE ZAMANILLO ON BEING NAMED THE FIRST DIRECTOR OF THE NEW SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN LATINO

WASHINGTON, D.C.—This morning the Smithsonian Institution announced that Jorge Zamanillo, the longtime executive director and CEO of HistoryMiami Museum, will serve as the inaugural director of the future National Museum of the American Latino.

“The decision to choose a director who is already so deeply involved in lifting up American Latino history, and who also has a keen understanding of the fundraising that will be required, is a great one. I have the utmost respect for Zamanillo’s work and congratulate him and the Smithsonian on the selection. Upwards of 25 million people visit the National Mall each year to learn about American history, and the FRIENDS group looks forward to working with Mr. Zamanillo and the Smithsonian to ensure that our story, nuestra historia, is front and center,” said FRIENDS President and CEO Estuardo Rodriguez.

“We are thrilled to see all of the great things to come as a result of Mr. Zamanillo’s leadership of America’s next great museum–the Smithsonian’s Latino American museum. His accomplishments in telling the full breadth of history that both Latinos and Americans share will now be a gift to share with the millions of future visitors to the National Latino American Museum when it opens on the National Mall,” said FRIENDS Board Chair and CEO of Cien+ Lili Gil Valletta.

Zamanillo, a trained archeologist who began his career at HistoryMiami Museum as a curator, will assume his new role on May 2, according to the Smithsonian Institution.

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The FRIENDS organization released this statement in response to the Smithsonian Institution naming a director for the new National Museum of the American Latino.

For a copy of the original press release, please visit the Smithsonian Institution’s online newsroom.

Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino Applaud the Bipartisan Effort of 24 United States Senators and Nearly 80 House Members Who Came Together to Urge Smithsonian Leadership to Build the Latino Museum on the National Mall

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WASHINGTON, D.C.— In two bipartisan letters sent Monday from 24 United States Senators and nearly 80 Members of the House—our nation’s top lawmakers urged Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lonnie Bunch and the Smithsonian Board of Regents to commit to building the future Latino Museum on the National Mall, as well as the forthcoming National Museum of Women’s History.

The Senate letter squarely states, “We want to take this opportunity to re-emphasize Congressional intent as stated in the authorizing legislation that both the National Museum of the American Latino and Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum be located on or near the National Mall, to the maximum extent practicable.” The House letter echoed this sentiment and the importance of the location of the Museum.

Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS) President and CEO Estuardo Rodriguez says this is an important reminder of the necessary steps that remain for the campaign, and for the Latino American community, who represent nearly one-fifth of the U.S. population. 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. The urgency is clear.

“It is inspiring to see Democrats and Republicans join together in agreement that the home of American history is on the National Mall and set the expectation that the National American Latino Museum should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the other iconic museums on that stretch of land,” stated Rodriguez. “This unifying message demonstrates that, in honoring our nation and every American, there is only one place that should be considered, our National Mall.”

“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. 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,” says FRIENDS Chairwoman Lili Gil Valletta, who is also CEO of CIEN+.

Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) led a diverse and bipartisan group of senators who come from backgrounds that represent nearly every major ethnic group in the U.S., including those of African-American, Asian-American and European-American heritage.

Representatives Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) and Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) led the bipartisan letter from Members of the House, which was similarly signed by a diverse group from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Copies of both the Senate and House letters are linked.

The following letter was sent to Sec. Bunch on Nov. 22nd on behalf of a bipartisan group of 82 Members of Congress. To read the original letter, click here.


Lonnie G. Bunch III
Secretary
The Smithsonian Institution

Dear Secretary Bunch:

The 116th Congress saw the passage of the creation of two new Smithsonian Museums into law. It comes with great excitement and comfort to have a partner at the helm who oversaw the creation of the extraordinary Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture that opened its doors in September 2016. Further, we applaud you for how quickly your team has begun to work to lay the foundation for both the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum and the National Museum of the American Latino.

As we continue to move through this process, we want to take this opportunity to re-emphasize Congressional intent as stated in the authorizing legislation that both the National Museum of the American Latino and Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum be located on or near the National Mall, to the maximum extent practicable. From our perspective, the National Mall is the two-mile park from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, bounded on the north and south by Constitution and Independence Avenues.

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. 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.

We appreciate your consideration of Congressional priorities as the Smithsonian works to establish these important museums. We look forward to working together and having a continued dialogue on how best to meet this intent.

Sincerely,

(more…)

The following letter was submitted to Sec. Lonnie Bunch on behalf of 24 Senators from both parties on November 22nd. To see the original letter, please click here.

Lonnie G. Bunch III
Secretary
The Smithsonian Institution

cc: Smithsonian Board of Regents

Dear Secretary Bunch:

The 116th Congress saw the passage of the creation of two new Smithsonian Museums into law. It comes with great excitement and comfort to have a partner at the helm who oversaw the creation of the extraordinary Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture that opened its doors in September 2016. Further, we applaud you for how quickly your team has begun to work to lay the foundation for both the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum and the National Museum of the American Latino.

As we continue to move through this process, we want to take this opportunity to re-emphasize Congressional intent as stated in the authorizing legislation that both the National Museum of the American Latino and Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum be located on or near the National Mall, to the maximum extent practicable. From our perspective, the National Mall is the two-mile park from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, bounded on the north and south by Constitution and Independence Avenues.

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 their home and best for the diffusion of knowledge. 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 as that will help ensure that more visitors will be able to enjoy and learn from them.

We appreciate your consideration of Congressional priorities as the Smithsonian works to establish these important museums. We look forward to working together and having a continued dialogue on how best to meet this intent.

Sincerely,

Robert Menendez
United States Senator

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Susan M. Collins
United States Senator

John Cornyn
United States Senator

Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

Marco Rubio
U.S. Senator

Richard Blumenthal
United States Senator

Alex Padilla United States Senator

Margaret Wood Hassan
United States Senator

Ben Ray Luján
United States Senator

Jacky Rosen
United States Senator

Michael F. Bennet
United States Senator

Patty Murray
United States Senator

Martin Heinrich
United States Senator

Cory A. Booker
United States Senator

Chris Van Hollen
United States Senator

Edward J. Markey
United States Senator

Tammy Baldwin
United States Senator

Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator

Jeffrey A. Merkley
United States Senator

Tina Smith
United States Senator

Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senator

Mazie K. Hirono
United States Senator

Elizabeth Warren
United States Senator

In the spirit of empowerment through collaboration, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino organization is proud to announce a new partnership with the National Women’s History Museum Coalition.

The Coalition is composed of more than 60 national organizations, predominantly women’s groups, with educational, professional and/or service missions. These like-missioned organizations have demonstrated a commitment to women’s equality, women’s empowerment, and/or women’s storytelling. These organizations seek to  support the Museum’s mission and goals through their work with the Coalition.

The National Women’s History Museum was established in the same legislation that also established the National Museum of the American Latino within the Smithsonian institution in December of 2020.

FRIENDS looks forward to a strong and fruitful partnership with the National Women’s History Museum Coalition as we work on similar missions to help share the full and complete story of the United States in museums on the National Mall.

FNMAL Names Award-Winning Journalist Mariana Atencio, Founder of Golike Productions, as An Official Spokesperson and Media Partner

WASHINGTON, D.C | Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS) is thrilled to announce the expansion of its relationship with award-winning journalist, author and entrepreneur Mariana Atencio as an official spokesperson of the organization to advocate alongside FRIENDS leadership for the future Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino.

“With her journalism background, multimedia expertise and established communications credentials, Mariana Atencio is the perfect addition to our team of passionate spokespeople for our national advocacy efforts,” said Estuardo Rodriguez, President and CEO of FRIENDS. “As we have always said, we have not made it this far on our own and it will require each one of us to ultimately open those doors. We are truly grateful for Mariana’s willingness to commit her time to this shared vision for the nation.”

The spokesperson role expands an ongoing media partnership with Atencio, whose company GoLike—promoting diversity and motivation through 360 storytelling—is an official media partner of FRIENDS.

Atencio’s first official duty as spokesperson will be hosting The Changing Perceptions of American Latinos, a Facebook Live event streaming Thursday, Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day at 2:15pm ET featuring producer, writer and actress Gloria Calderón Kellett (One Day At A Time), FRIENDS Chair Emeritus and United States Air Force Veteran Danny Vargas, Executive President of the Latino Donor Collaborative Ana Valdez, and CEO & President of the Latino Corporate Directors Association Esther Aguilera. (Register for this free, public event here)

“Having a museum where we can all take our children to teach them about our shared culture, history and contributions has become a big part of my life’s purpose,” said Atencio, a newly-minted American citizen. “I would like to thank Estuardo and the leaders at the Latino Museum for letting me be a part of this gigantic effort. I won’t stop until we are at the ribbon cutting ceremony on the National Mall!”

Atencio is an alum of MSNBC and NBC News. She founded GoLike in 2018 to represent and lift Latinos through storytelling and speaking.

“GoLike creates content that is educational, engaging and inclusive, shining a light on where our communities are now and helping them chart a new path forward. This dovetails perfectly with the work I’ll be spearheading with the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino.”

Atencio is the recipient of many esteemed journalism awards, including the Peabody, the Gracie and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Presidential Award.

About Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino

The Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino organization strives to create a museum in our nation’s capital to educate, inspire and encourage respect and understanding of the richness and diversity of the American Latino experience within the U.S. and its territories by highlighting the contributions made by Latino leaders, pioneers and communities to the American way of life.

The FRIENDS organization is not affiliated in any way with the Smithsonian Institution.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today the Smithsonian Board of Regents, the governing body of the Smithsonian Institution, announced 17 appointments to the Board of Trustees of the future National Museum of the American Latino.

The newly named Board of Trustees will be an integral part of the leadership, planning and development of the first national Smithsonian museum dedicated to the history and culture of American Latinos. The Trustees will advise the Regents on the location, planning, design and construction of the future museum. Additionally, the Trustees will oversee the administration, fundraising and provide guidance on the acquisition of objects for the museum’s collection.

“This is a Board of Trustees that vividly reflects the fabric of America, while also giving Latinos long-overdue representation at the highest levels of government, when it comes to sharing and preserving our history,” said Lili Gil Valletta, Board Chair of Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS).

“These esteemed individuals are trailblazers and business people, artists and artisans, history makers and activists, and men and women who live and breathe the core values of the American dream through their words and actions,” said FRIENDS President and CEO Estuardo Rodriguez. “We applaud their leadership and stand by to support their ambitious agenda over the months and years to come. Felicidades!”

The members of the Board of Trustees are as follows:

  • Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian (ex officio)
  • Kevin Gover, the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Museums and Culture (ex officio)
  • Margarita Paláu-Hernández, chair of the Smithsonian National Latino Board
  • Franklin D. Raines, member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents
  • Raul A. Anaya, president of business banking for Bank of America
  • José Andrés, restaurateur, chef and owner of ThinkFoodGroup; creator of World Central Kitchen
  • Emilio Estefan, Grammy Award-winning musician, songwriter and TV producer; co-founder of the Gloria Estefan Foundation
  • Rick Gomez, executive vice president and chief food and beverage officer for Target Corp.
  • Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; former publisher of the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald
  • Eva Longoria, award-winning actor and producer; founder of the Eva Longoria Foundation
  • Dr. J. Mario Molina, principal of JM Molina Investments; former CEO of Molina Healthcare
  • Henry R. Muñoz III, chairman emeritus of Muñoz & Co.
  • José Luis Prado, executive advisor partner with Wind Point Partners; former president of Quaker Oats North America
  • Alfredo Rivera, president of Coca-Cola North America
  • Sofía Vergara, Emmy-nominated actress, television producer, presenter and model

The members of Congress appointed to the board are:

  • Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), appointed by the Congressional Hispanic Conference
  • Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), appointed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Additional candidates are pending and will be announced soon. Please see the full statement from the Smithsonian Institution here.

Pulling from health advocacy, business, and human rights advocacy, these three Latinas are joining in the fight to ensure the National Museum of the American Latino gets its rightful place on our National Mall

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS), an advocacy campaign fighting for the creation of a Smithsonian museum on the National Mall dedicated to the 500 year history of American Latinos in the U.S., announced three new additions to its Board of Directors: former Obama White House official and women’s health advocate Alejandra Campoverdi, businesswoman and impact investor Angélica Fuentes, and activist and founder of Justice for Migrant Women, Mónica Ramirez.

“This dynamic trio of change makers and influential leaders will add greatly to our efforts to realize the dream of so many Americans—that is, to have the history of Latinos in the United States told on the grandest stage our nation has to offer, the National Mall,” said Estuardo Rodriguez, President and CEO of FRIENDS.

“We are honored to have such an accomplished and well-equipped group of champions join our fight, and I look forward to tapping into their expertise as we move into the next phase of advocacy for the long-overdue Smithsonian museum, which is to secure the best location on the National Mall for our future museum and to raise the $350 million in funds necessary to get started on the building,” said Lili Gil Valletta, FRIENDS Board Chair.

The additions come during a pivotal season for the FRIENDS campaign. Most recently, FRIENDS sent a letter signed by more than 100 influential Latino leaders to Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch. The letter urges him to ensure that the museum is built on the National Mall. It was sent in response to news that space issues on the National Mall may affect the location of the future Latino Museum. In addition, FRIENDS succeeded in helping to get the National Museum of the American Latino Act passed in Congress in December of 2020, officially inaugurating the museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Learn more about the new Board members below:

Alejandra Campoverdi
Women’s health advocate & former Obama White House official
Alejandra Campoverdi is a nationally-recognized advocate for women’s health, a member of the Medical Board of California, and a former Obama White House official. An influential patient advocate for breast cancer awareness and health equity, Campoverdi produced and appeared in INHERITANCE, a PBS health documentary that intimately follows the surgical journeys of three women genetically predisposed to cancer. It was named one of the “Best Documentaries of 2020” by ELLE. In 2020, Campoverdi was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the Medical Board of California, whose mission is public protection and promoting access to quality medical care. She is the founder of the Well Woman Coalition, an initiative empowering women of color to have agency over their own health through awareness, education, and advocacy. Campoverdi also founded LATINX & BRCA in partnership with Penn Medicine’s Basser Center for BRCA, an awareness campaign on the BRCA gene mutation that provides Spanish-language educational materials and resources. From 2009-2012, Campoverdi served in the Obama White House, initially as Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and later as White House Deputy Director of Hispanic Media, where she developed and implemented the White House’s communications strategy directed towards the Latino community around a broad range of issues, including health care. Campoverdi hosts the Pod is a Woman podcast, a weekly conversation about politics and pop culture led by three veterans of the Obama White House. She serves on the boards of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy and the California Community Foundation, and is a former Commissioner for First 5 California. Campoverdi earned a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and graduated cum laude from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California.

Angélica Fuentes
Businesswoman and impact investor
Angélica Fuentes is a Latin American businesswoman and impact investor. Equity, women empowerment, education and ESG investments have always been a priority in all her endeavors. Angelica’s entire career has been fueled by a strong and enduring commitment to the cause of women.

Angélica was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 at the age of 29. She quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. She served as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000, and as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004. From 2007 to 2015, she served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico.

In 2014, she founded the Angélica Fuentes Foundation dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment in Latin America. In 2019, she founded Muvop, a microfinance institution that targets those who lack access to credits and provides an e-learning platform focused on personal empowerment and financial education. Angélica is an active investor at Banqu, a software technology company on a mission to connect the world’s poorest to the global economy.

Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. In 2015, UN Women gave her the WEP´s CEO Leadership Award; she was the first female CEO to receive this award for championing gender equality in the private sector. In 2016, PVBLIC Foundation, Ismael Cala Foundation, and the United Nations gave her the award for Latin Woman Empowerment. In 2017, she received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from The Maestro Cares Foundation.

Mónica Ramirez
Founder of Justice for Migrant Women and The Latinx House
Mónica Ramirez is an activist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur. For more than two decades, she has fought for the civil and human rights of women, children, and immigrants. In 2003, Ramirez created the first legal project in the United States dedicated to addressing gender discrimination against farmworker women, which she later expanded to create Esperanza: The Immigrant Women’s Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2014, Ramirez founded Justice for Migrant Women to provide technical assistance to lawyers, advocates, political leaders and law enforcement on addressing workplace sexual violence, as well as other issues confronting migrant women. In 2019, she founded The Latinx House, a gathering place for people who appreciate and support the Latinx community and who celebrate Latinx excellence in film and entertainment. She is also a co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (The National Farmworker Women’s Alliance), which is the first national farmworker women’s organization in the US. Ramirez has received Harvard Kennedy School’s inaugural Gender Equity Changemaker Award, the Feminist Majority’s Global Women’s Rights Award, the Smithsonian’s 2018 Ingenuity Award for Social Progress and she was named to TIME100: NEXT 2021 List. She currently serves as the President of Justice for Migrant Women, President of the Latinx House and she is a founding principal of Poderistas.

New York artist Jose Flores submits winning design in celebration of Latino heritage

WASHINGTON, D.C. Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS) announced today the winner of its 10th Annual Design Contest in celebration of Latino heritage in the US. José Flores is an artist from New York with roots in Guatemala. He won for his submission titled, Fly Little Quetzal (pictured above).

I am extremely honored and humbled to be chosen,” said Flores, who is a self-taught painter in watercolors, acrylics and digital art forms. “Our story and history is so often not brought to the surface. Having [a Latino] museum would be a beacon of light for our community,” said Flores, who is founder of Sangre Indígena Art, an art studio in New York that works with indigenous peoples throughout the Americas.

Flores said his inspiration for Fly Little Quetzal was drawn from the ancient traditions of Mayan culture. “Very often, indigenous communities throughout Latin America and here in the US do not see themselves in the mainstream,” said Flores. “I want to help change that. Indigenous people and culture are an important and crucial piece of the general Latin culture and, therefore, it needs to be magnified more. Winning this contest does just that,” he continued.

Each year, the annual contest invites artists from around the country to share their vision of what American Latino history means to them. Flores’ winning design garnered the highest number of votes after the public had an opportunity to vote on a Top 10 gallery of finalists in the week leading up to Cinco de Mayo. 

“The design José submitted gorgeously highlights the strength, beauty and courage of Latinos in the US and beyond,” said FRIENDS Board Chair Lili Gil Valletta. “Telling the story of Latinos Americans through Latino artists is so very crucial to the advancement of our community and the museum initiative because it means we are being seen and heard in an authentic way,” said Gil Valletta. 

This year’s contest received more than 300 submissions from artists across the US, the most entries submitted in the history of the contest. 

“As history has repeatedly taught us, art inspires action. Public interest surrounding our 10th Annual Design Contest reached more than 150,000 people on social media and generated more than 4,000 visits to our website, Americanlatinomuseum.org, proving that telling our story in an artistic manner is a vital part of our grassroots efforts,” said FRIENDS President & CEO Estuardo Rodriguez. 

Flores’ winning design will be featured in 2021 campaign materials, posters, flyers and digital imagery to support fundraising and advocacy efforts by FRIENDS to secure the best location on the National Mall for the future Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino. In addition, Flores is the winner of a $500 Target gift card.

The 2021 contest was made possible by the generous support of AARP and Target Corporation.

MORE THAN 100 INFLUENTIAL LATINO LEADERS SIGN ON TO A LETTER URGING
THE SMITHSONIAN SECRETARY TO ENSURE THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE
AMERICAN LATINO GETS ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE ON THE NATIONAL MALL

Read the letter and add your name by clicking here

WASHINGTON—After a triumphant year in 2020 with getting the National Museum of the American Latino Act signed into law, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS) is working harder than ever in 2021 to ensure the future museum gets its proper placement on the National Mall.

While the historic legislation calls for the official establishment of a national museum dedicated to U.S. Latino culture and history within the Smithsonian Institution, there is no guarantee that the future museum will be constructed in the area between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol Building known as the National Mall. Leaders of the Smithsonian Institution have begun the process of determining where the Latino museum will be built.

“With two new museums in the works, one dedicated to U.S. Latino history and one devoted to women’s history, we understand that talks are fast moving around space on the National Mall and the definition of what it means to be ‘on the National Mall’ per se,” explains FRIENDS President and CEO, Estuardo Rodriguez. “Since the 2011 American Latino Museum Commission report, we have always been clear on the future location of this museum. Having finally secured the approval of Congress and the White House, we must ensure that vision is fulfilled.”

The National Museum of the American Latino will be the first-ever, stand-alone Smithsonian building dedicated to housing the long and storied history of the Latino community in the United States, many of whom are native peoples of this land as the border moved across the southwest. The National Mall sees upwards of 25 million visitors each year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. With the most prestigious Smithsonian museums being situated between the U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial, FRIENDS leadership and supporters thought it necessary to write to Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch—who carries the ultimate decision-making authority on where to build—and respectfully urge him to enact a plan that will ensure the Latino museum gets its proper place on the National Mall.

More than 100 influential Latino leaders in business, government, education, and entertainment have signed on to the letter. The letter will remain open for FRIENDS supporters to sign-on and encourage others to do so as well.

“Latino history is American history,” said Lili Gil Valletta, FRIENDS Board Chair. “There is too much at stake for current and future generations—Latinos and Americans of all backgrounds—not to see the Latino story represented on the most influential promenade in the U.S. We cannot be down the street or around the corner. We deserve a building that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the iconic museums we all know and love,” said Gil Valletta.