Lawmakers renew push to create American Latino Smithsonian museum

Lawmakers renew push to create American Latino Smithsonian museum
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday reintroduced legislation to establish a national Latino museum in Washington, D.C., after a previous effort stalled in a previous legislative session.

Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezGovernment watchdog: 'No evidence' Pompeo violated Hatch Act with Kansas trips No time to be selling arms to the Philippines Senate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation MORE (D-N.J.) and John CornynJohn CornynRosenstein steps back into GOP crosshairs GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Castro, Warren, Harris to speak at Texas Democratic virtual convention MORE (R-Texas) as well as Reps. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeDemocrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd Black Caucus member unveils bill to create commission addressing legacy of slavery House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality MORE (D-Calif.), Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroCHC says George Floyd death shows 'tiny fraction' of what people of color confront in their daily lives Julián Castro launches PAC to support progressive candidates Minority lawmakers gain unprecedented clout amid pandemic MORE (D-Texas) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdJulián Castro launches PAC to support progressive candidates The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump visits a ventilator plant in a battleground state The Hill to interview Mnuchin today and many other speakers MORE (R-Texas) reintroduced a bill that would establish a Smithsonian museum on the National Mall dedicated to Latino Americans and their history.

The National Museum of the American Latino Act would renew previous efforts to secure a location close to the Smithsonian's other museums, such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian. Similar bipartisan bills to create such a museum have stalled in Congress.

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“Latinos have been contributing to the fabric of America from it’s earliest days, and yet we still don’t have a place on the National Mall to celebrate these contributions,” Danny Vargas, chairman of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino said in a press release.

“It is now necessary and urgent that we establish a national museum to recognize the full picture of American history. Congress has every reason it needs to pass the bill authorizing the Smithsonian National American Latino Museum in this session," he added. 

"At a time when hateful rhetoric so often poisons our airwaves and our newsfeeds, it’s never been more important that we come together to tell the story of the American Latino in a way that it deserves to be told. Aquí estamos y no nos vamos [We’re here and we’re not going anywhere],” Menendez said during a press conference outside the Capitol on Tuesday.

Cornyn said Tuesday in a press release that he was proud to work with Menendez on an effort that he said would extend representation on the National Mall to a third of Texas'x residents, who are Hispanic.

"The history and culture of Latin Americans are woven into the fabric of our country," Cornyn said. "More than a third of all Texans identify themselves as Hispanic, and I am proud to partner with Senator Menendez in the struggle to honor his contributions by establishing a new museum at the Smithsonian Institution."