A National Museum of the American Latino is Closer Than Ever

On July 27, 2020, the U.S. House unanimously approved a bill authorizing the Smithsonian Institution to build a National American Latino Museum.

Introduced by New York Representative José Serrano and co-sponsored by 295 democrats and republicans, the museum will join 11 other Smithsonian museums along the National Mall in Washington D.C., such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian.

A companion bill for the Latino museum was introduced in the Senate in May 2019.

“Spanish was the first non-native language to be spoken in the United States,” said Texas Democratic Rep. and chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Joaquin Castro, according to The Texan. “Latinos have fought in every U.S. war. Food and music from Latin America are enjoyed in every American city. The Latino story is an American story, and our history is a central thread in the history of our nation.”

26-Year Push for a National American Latino Museum

The idea for a museum dedicated to the history of Latinos in America goes back to the 1990s.

The National Council of La Raza, now known as Unidos US, chaired a Task Force on Latino issues. They released a report, Willful Neglect, in 1994 revealing that Latinos are the most underrepresented in staff, leadership, exhibits, and collections across all of the Smithsonian museums.

The task force found that, as of April 1994, not one Latino had served among the 274 people appointed to the Institution’s Board of Regents.

“The failure of the Smithsonian to reflect and represent [Latinx] contributions is twice damaging,” the report states. “It denies Latinos their right to feel recognized and valued as part of their country’s heritage. At the same time, it perpetuates among the general population the inaccurate belief that Latinos contributed little to our country’s development of culture, rather than reflecting the multicultural history and accomplishments of the United States.”

The report detailed 10 critical actions for the Smithsonian to equitably include Latinos throughout the Institution’s facilities and programs, to include: seeking Latinos for governance and advisory bodies, as well as for employment in various senior, management, curator, and other staff positions; assessing and assuring a Latino presence in collections, exhibitions, acquisitions, and research; and reviewing and requiring funding for Latino initiatives.

Three years later, leaders created the Smithsonian Latino Center to ensure “that the contributions of the Latino community in the arts, history, national culture and scientific achievement are explored, presented, celebrated and preserved.”

Latino museum
The Smithsonian Latino Center is building the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the National Museum of American History and installing its inaugural exhibition, ¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States. Source: Smithsonian Latino Center

Another critical action in the report was to do the groundwork needed to assure the establishment of one or more museums portraying the historical, cultural, and artistic achievements of U.S. Latinos.

In 2003, advocates in Congress began pushing for this museum.

In 2008, during the President George W. Bush administration, a commission studied the potential creation of the museum. Following the commission’s report in 2011, the first bill to establish the museum was introduced.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture launched through a similar legislative process in 2003, thanks to the late Georgia Congressman and civil rights champion John Lewis.

“For over 500 years, the Latino community has been instrumental in the building, shaping and defending of our great nation,” said Danny Vargas, chairman of the Friends of the American Latino Museum. “The time has come to commemorate those contributions in a national museum that will illuminate the American story for the benefit of everyone and serve to inspire future generations.”

New Progress for a National American Latino Museum

In July 2020, the House passed the bill for a National American Latino Museum.

“To fully understand American history, we need a museum for the American Latino and Latina,” said Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd, according to a C-SPAN transcript of the July 27 House session.

However, the companion bill, introduced by New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez and Texas Republican John Cornyn, has been sitting in the Senate for over a year.

“With support from Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), we call on senators from both sides of the aisle to join us in making history,” said Estuardo Rodriguez, President and CEO of Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino. “Today, we have the highest number of bipartisan co-sponsors since our efforts began in 1994, with 295 in the House and 29 in the Senate. We are grateful to all the partners and allies who helped bring us a step closer to making the American Latino museum a reality, and now seek the leadership of the Senate to get us over the finish line.”

You can urge your U.S. Senators to support a National American Latino Museum.

Use the tab “Find Your Senators” here for their contact information.

“With growing support from Members of Congress and the American public, the time to act is now,” Rodriguez said.

The post A National Museum of the American Latino is Closer Than Ever appeared first on Salud America.

Related Articles

13 Legit Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is here! This annual U.S. observance, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. We at Salud America! invite you to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in these awesome ways. 1. Learn How Hispanic …
The post 13 Legit Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month appeared first on Salud America.

Achieving a Cohesive Culture for Health Equity in Latino and All Communities: A Research Review

Do you notice how much some of your neighbors are suffering? A widening socioeconomic gap, racism, and discrimination contribute to inequitable distribution of healthcare and mental and physical health disparities among Latinos and other people of color and those in poverty, especially amid COVID-19. But it doesn’t have to be this way. A cohesive culture …
The post Achieving a Cohesive Culture for Health Equity in Latino and All Communities: A Research Review appeared first on Salud America.

Research: In Rural Areas, Latinos Face Poverty and Other Inequities

This is part of the Salud America! Achieving a Cohesive Culture for Health Equity in Latino and All Communities: A Research Review» Disparities in Poverty Exist across Geography Disparities in poverty rates also exist across geography: child poverty rates are highest in rural counties, at 23.2%, compared to large urban metro areas (21.2%), smaller metro …
The post Research: In Rural Areas, Latinos Face Poverty and Other Inequities appeared first on Salud America.

Advocates Petition to Award Latino WWI Veteran Marcelino Serna a Medal of Honor, After He Faced Discrimination

Marcelino Serna is remembered as Texas’ most-decorated World War I veteran. Serna was the first Latino man to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and was awarded more than 10 other awards for his bravery and service in the Battles of St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne. But he never received the most prestigious military award: The …
The post Advocates Petition to Award Latino WWI Veteran Marcelino Serna a Medal of Honor, After He Faced Discrimination appeared first on Salud America.

Introduction & Methods: A Cohesive Culture for Health Equity in Latino and All Communities

This is part of the Salud America! Achieving a Cohesive Culture for Health Equity in Latino and All Communities: A Research Review» Abstract Health inequities are persistent in the United States. A widening socioeconomic gap, extensive poverty, and multi-level racism, discrimination, and segregation contribute to inequitable distribution of healthcare, resources, and a significant disparity in …
The post Introduction & Methods: A Cohesive Culture for Health Equity in Latino and All Communities appeared first on Salud America.

Responses

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *