FRIENDS Statement on Site Authorization Legislation Not Being Included in the 2023 Funding Package

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS) released the following statement reacting to the Site Authorization Legislation not being included in the 2023 federal government funding bill announced on December 20, 2022: 

“We are disappointed by Congress’ decision not to include the language authorizing the Smithsonian Institution to take action on its preferred locations for the future National Museum of the American Latino and the National Women’s History Museum in the year-end omnibus,” said Estuardo Rodriguez, FRIENDS President & CEO. “After almost 30 years of bipartisan advocacy in support of the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino, to have secured the location on the National Mall, it would have been a wonderful gift for the countless Latino leaders, advocates, and partners across the nation. While we are disappointed by the opposition by some members of the House and Senate to making the location for two national museums a priority, we are incredibly grateful to the Senate Rules Committee, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the bipartisan support across both chambers for their tireless work and collaboration in our efforts to ensure the Smithsonian can move forward with its vision of a more complete telling of our American history across the National Mall.”

“Without the proper legislation to remove the restriction preventing the Smithsonian Institution from designating the locations on the National Mall, the Latino community faces the risk of  not having over 500 years of our history, achievements, and contributions displayed where they belong—on the National Mall. Although this news is disappointing, our organization remains committed to working with our federal partners and bipartisan advocates and leaders to ensure the Smithsonian has a clear pathway to build our future museum in its rightful location,” said Lili Gil Valletta, FRIENDS Board Chair. “As we close out 2022, our organization is proud of the work we have accomplished and grateful to our partners throughout the country who share our dreams of finally walking through the doors of the National Museum of the American Latino on the National Mall.”