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

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.