On May 20th, the letter below was delivered to Secretary Lonnie Bunch, the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. The letter was co-signed by over 100 influential supporters. To add your name to this list, please click here

Lonnie G. Bunch III
The Smithsonian Institution
PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012

May 20, 2021

RE: Site Consideration for the National Museum of the American Latino

Dear Secretary Bunch:

We hope this letter finds you well. We submit this letter with the greatest admiration for the historic work you have ahead with the creation of two national museums that will not only expand, but improve the understanding of our American story for millions around the country and the world. As partners and allies of this initiative, we wanted to commend you for how quickly your team has begun the work to lay the foundation for the National American Latino Museum. With that, we also would like to underscore how important the location of this museum is for us and generations to come.

We understand that your current process includes both the review of possible locations, as well as a determination of what is defined as the area known as the National Mall. While we are excited that an initial review of locations and design has begun, it is the latter task that has us greatly concerned. After all, the definition of the National Mall is well settled for every tourist that has visited our nation’s capital for years. For that reason, we ask that all recommendations submitted to the Smithsonian Board of Regents are explicitly located on the National Mall defined as the area from the Lincoln Memorial stretching past the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol Building.

The Mall, as envisioned by French engineer Pierre L’Enfant, was intended to be a grand avenue west of the Capitol where significant civic buildings would be located and where Americans could come to share their stories and learn about our shared history. That vision was later refined by the McMillan Plan, which proposed establishing buildings devoted to scientific purposes and great museums. As you know better than most, today the National Mall houses our most important monuments and museums; it convenes our Congress, inaugurates our Presidents, and welcomes millions of Americans and international visitors who come to our nation’s capital to learn about our shared history.

From the years 2009 through 2011, the National Museum of the American Latino Commission convened nine public forums across the country to gather feedback from leaders and the general public about the creation of the museum, including its location. On the question of where to build this long-overdue museum, the answer was unanimous: the museum must be on the National Mall, even if it takes longer to build. This should come as no surprise, as the National Mall is iconic. It is where people from all corners of the country and the world come to learn about the story of America—even though that story is incomplete.

Latinos make up nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population and have been an integral part of the American story for more than 500 years. But Latinos remain one of the most underrepresented groups in the Smithsonian Institution, according to the 1994 Willful Neglect report. The purpose of the National Museum of the American Latino is to correct this blatant omission and illuminate the American Latino story for the benefit of all. Any location beyond what Americans recognize as the National Mall will be a disservice to—not only the Latino community—but to every American.

We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to working with you in the months ahead to ensure the appropriate site is selected.


Estuardo Rodriguez
President & CEO
Friends of the American Latino Museum

Lili Gil Valletta
Friends of the American Latino Museum

FRIENDS Board Members
Antonio Argibay, Principal, Meridian Design Associates, Architects, P.C.
Luis R. Cancel, Commissioner, National Museum of the American Latino
Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, Executive Chairman, PVBLIC Foundation
John Leguizamo, actor, comedian, producer
Yvette Peña,Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, AARP
Jorge Plasencia, CEO, Republica Havas
Mario Rodriguez, Chairman, Hispanic 100
Cici Rojas, President, Tico Sports
Claudia Romo Edelman, Founder, We Are All Human
Luis Spinola, President and CEO, Azteca Omega Group
Dr. Betty Uribe, California’s Consumer Bank Divisional Director, JPMorgan Chase
Danny Vargas, FRIENDS Chair Emeritus and President of VARCom Solutions

National Museum of the American Latino Commission
Henry R. Muñoz III, Commission Chairman, SOMOS US Vice-Chairman
Moctesuma Esparza, CEO, Maya Cinemas North America, Inc.
Emilio Estefan, CEO, Estefan Enterprises. Inc.
Carlos Ezeta, Commissioner
Jose B. Fernandez, Dean Emeritus, University of Central Florida
Susan Gonzales, CEO, AIandYou
Aida T. Levitan, President, ArtesMiami, Inc.
Andres Lopez, Commissioner
Eduardo J. Padron, President Emeritus, Miami Dade College
Emma Sepulveda Pulvirenti, Commissioner
Cid Wilson, President & CEO, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)

National Partners & Regional Leadership
Dr. Juan Andrade, President, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute
Mari Carmen Aponte, Former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador
Julissa Arce, Chairwoman, Ascend Educational Fund
Ana Marie Argilagos, President & CEO, Hispanics in Philanthropy
Rudy Arredondo, President/CEO, National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association
Sindy Benavides, CEO, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Ruben Blades, musician, actor, composer, lawyer
Roger Campos, Chairman, Minority Business RoundTable
Alejandra Campoverdi, Founder, Well Woman Coalition
Betty Cardenas, National Chairwoman, Republican National Hispanic Assembly
Ramiro A. Cavazos, President & CEO, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Francela Chi de Chinchilla, Vice President of Partnerships, Equis Labs
Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO, National Alliance for Hispanic Health
Abraham Enriquez, President, Bienvenido USA
GinaLinn Espinoza, Founder, Get Wise Latinas & Up Latino
Daniel Garza, President, The Libre Initiative
Amy Hinojosa, President and CEO, MANA, A National Latina Organization
Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO and President, Voto Latino
Cici Rojas, President, The Latino Coalition
Hector V. Barreto, Chairman, The Latino Coalition Foundation
Benjamin Lopez, Executive Director, National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP)
Frankie Miranda, President and CEO, Hispanic Federation
Marianna Morón, Chief Operating Officer, LNESC
Patricia Mota, President & CEO, Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE)
Janet Murguia, President and CEO, UnidosUS
Maria Gabriela Pacheco, Director of Advocacy, Development, and Communications, The Dream.US
Monica Ramirez, Justice for Migrant Women Founder & President, Latinx House Co-Founder, Poderistas Founding Principal
Annette Ramos, Executive Director, Rochester Latino Theatre Company
Elena Rios, President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association
Ivette Rodriguez, President and Founder, American Entertainment Marketing (AEM)
Brian de la Rosa, Business Owner, DLR Planning
Vanessa De La Rosa, Business Owner, DLR Planning
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Former U.S. Congresswoman
Felix Sanchez, Chair & Co-founder, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts
Jennifer Sanchez, Intel
Raquel Tamez, CEO, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
Arturo Vargas CEO, NALEO Educational Fund
Nora Vargas, Vice Chair & Supervisor, San Diego County
Nikkie Whaley, Governing Board Vice President, Washington ESD, Phoenix, AZ
Brent Wilkes, SVP Institutional Development, Hispanic Federation

Community and Business Leaders
Maria Agui Carter, Professor/Filmmaker, Emerson College/Iguana Films
Richard Aguilar, President, Aguilar Productions, Inc.
Brittany Alfonzo, Editorial Director, Poderistas
Giraldo Alvare, CEO, Monte Cristo Ent., LLC
Cynthia Alvarado
Maria Eugenia Betancourt
Anna Michele Bobadilla, Sr. Associate VP & Assistant Provost, UT Arlington
Luz Boys, Founder, My Tea Places LLC
Celeste Carrasco, Director of Public Affairs, AT&T
Yuliana Castellanos, software engineer
Elaine Coronado, President + Chief Strategist, Argus Events
Dalia Diaz, Global Quality Manager, National Hispana Leadership Institute Alumni
Guadalupe Garcia
Dr. Yolanda Garcia
Eileen Garcia, Vice President, Solidarity Strategies
Xitlalt Herrera
Jenn Kauffman Ortega, Chief Community Officer, The Movement Cooperative
Kimberly M. Lavelanet, Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Irene Loza
Monica Lozano, President and CEO (retired), ImpreMedia, LLC
Rebecca McPhail, Program Management Business Partner, TikTok
Vladimir Enrique Medenica,Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Delaware
Alison Mendoza-Walters, Public Health Impact, LLC
Richard Montanez
Lalo Montoya, Housing Justice Organizer, Make the Road Nevada
Jasmine Nazarett
Angeles Ortega, CEO, Mi Casa Resource Center
Xochitl Oseguera, Vice President, MamásConPoder.org
Kay Cude Past
Elaine A. Peña, Associate Professor of American Studies, George Washington University
Gabriela Perez, Product Manager
Roland Rene Ramirez, President, RRR Group
Robin Ramirez Juhasz
Elianne Ramos, Activist
Kristian Ramos, Executive Director, Autonomy Strategies
Maria Reyes, CEO, Nexis Consulting, LLC
Velinda Reyes, School Board President, San Isidro ISD
Veronica Rivera, Legislative and General Counsel, Leonas
George Rosales Benavides, Genealogist and Historian
Rachel Stein, Chief Analyst, Equis Labs
Erlinda Torres, President CEO E.T. Communiques, Inc., Arte Sagrado
Linda Valencia Martinez
Quintín Vargas, QVARGAS BOOKS

Luis Walters, Phi Iota Alpha
Luichy Walters
Liana Walters

cc: The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States
The Honorable Raul Ruiz, Chairman, Congressional Hispanic Caucus