Latinos are the most underrepresented ethnic group in the entire Smithsonian institution counted as both staff and collections. By its own admission, its 1994 Willful Willful Neglect report showed that the Smithsonian Institution has drastically left out the contributions of American Latinos, and 25 years later, the UCLA report Invisible No More showed that very little progress has been made.
After 25 years of fighting for this museum, we are now closer than ever to making it a reality. As of October 13th, the bill has 242 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House and 25 in the Senate– the highest numbers ever.
On Thursday, October 17, we celebrated a historic milestone in our campaign for a museum: the first-ever Congressional hearing on a Smithsonian National American Latino Museum on our National Mall.
The hearing was a major step forward and if our bill was up to a vote today, our museum would pass the House easily as we now have 242 bipartisan cosponsors, and things look good in the Senate with 25 bipartisan cosponsors and growing.
Our mission is simple: to tell the stories of the American Latino community, and ensure that those stories have a permanent home for every American to better understand the diversity that exists at the root of our founding. This year, we are closer than ever to our goal of creating a National American Latino Museum to preserve and celebrate our heritage, but we need your help.
Quotes from the standing-room only hearing:
“Latinos have been a part of the United States for generations. The only way we can erase racism is through understanding and through knowledge. That is what Latino Museum would create.”
~ Dolores Huerta, President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation
“The Smithsonian’s failure to include Latinos perpetuates an inaccurate belief that the American Latino community has not contributed to our country.”
~ Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM)
“Latino history is treated like a scavenger hunt in our educational system and in our Smithsonian system.”
~ Representative Tony Cardenas (D-CA)
“I’m worried about the time factor now, I’d like to see it finished before I go.”
~ Representative Don Young (R-AK)
Pick up the phone and call your U.S. Representatives by following these three easy steps:
“Hello my name is (______) and as your constituent, I urge you to support the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act. I believe the creation of this museum is long overdue, and I believe it can educate, inspire, and encourage understanding of the richness and diversity of the American Latino experience within the U.S. (insert what an American Latino Museum would mean to you). I hope I can count on you to co-sponsor the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act and make this museum a reality.”]
After 25 years of fighting for this museum, we are now closer than ever to making it a reality in this congressional session. We have serious momentum from Congressional leadership both in the House and the Senate with the most cosponsors we have ever had and plans for our first-ever congressional hearing. This Hispanic Heritage month is now a critical moment to make sure Congress knows we’re ready and we won’t wait any longer.