House Passes Legislation To Create Latino Smithsonian Museum
Updated August 13, 2020.
Last July the country moved closer to opening a Smithsonian museum dedicated to Latinos. On July 27, the U.S. The House of Representatives voted on the measure in a voice vote that passed.
In late July, the House of Representatives passed legislation moving us closer to a Latino Smithsonian museum.
The Smithsonian is a collection of museums in Washington on the Nationa Mall. The museums highlight U.S. history throughout the centuries through art, science, natural history, and contributions to American society. For years, history was very limited as there were no museums honoring the people of color who have contributed to American society. That all changed with the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Soon, Latinos could have their own museum as well.
Speaking about the newly passed bill this week, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) described the passing as 26-years in the making. “Latino history is American history… Latinos were the only group, that their contribution to our culture and our history, wasn’t properly recognized,” Hurd said. “Bipartisan things can still happen up here in Washington, D.C.”
For years, politicians and their supporters called for a Latino history museum in Washington.
UCLA released a report that echoed the sentiment of a Smithsonian report in 1994. The two reports agree that not enough has been done to highlight and teach the history and contributions of Latinos in the U.S. Twenty-six years apart and both studies find the same lack of representation.
Latinos in power come together and really made moves on this bill.
“It’s time for Latinos to see our contributions, our culture and our history reflected in all institutions, including the Smithsonian museums,” Rep. Sylvia Garcia said on the House floor. “It’s time for our children to come to a museum and see the stories of their own heritage.”
The Latino community, like every other community, has contributed to the U.S. in all aspects of society.
The bill had 295 cosponsors and years of support. The Friends of the National Museum of the Latino American, a nonprofit, has been advocating for the museum since 2004.
“It is a wonderful feeling to know that the House of Representatives has come to realize the importance of an institution that can recognize and commemorate the over 500 years of Latino contributions to the founding, shaping, building, and the defending of this country,” Danny Vargas, chairman of the board of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, told NBC. “We’re elated.”
The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is already being welcomed with bipartisan support.
While there’s still a long road ahead before we can expect to see a museum, Hurd says the current bill has already laid out a board to tackle all the details. First goal on the agenda? Raise $700 million in donations to make the historical museum a reality.
READ: The Smithsonian Is Opening The First Permanent Latino Gallery In 2021 Highlighting Latino Contributions
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