The former Commission members encourage swift action in Congress to secure the Arts and Industries Building as the future site of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum
Internationally renowned artists and community leaders, Eva Longoria and Emilio Estefan have agreed to take leadership roles in a national campaign launched by the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS) in support of passage of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act, (S.1868) recently introduced by Senator Bob Menendez. The former commissioners of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission, a bipartisan body appointed by both the President and Congress in 2008, are strong advocates for the creation of the museum and have committed themselves to working to move this bill forward.
The bipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives on November 15, 2011 by US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Majority Leader Reid (D-NV), US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), US Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). This legislation will officially designate the historic Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall as the site for the future Smithsonian American Latino Museum, and it encourages the start of fundraising from private sources. The Arts and Industries building was one of the top recommended sites for the future museum in the Commission’s final report released in May of 2011. With 15 Senators currently signed up as co-sponsors, there is much work to be done on both sides of the aisle. Just as with the Commission, Longoria and Estefan’s leadership here is critical in raising the visibility and importance of the Museum before the Members of Congress and the nation.
Eva Longoria stated “This bill is an integral first step toward ensuring the numerous Latino contributions to American history are reflected in our federal institutions. I look forward to the day when future generations of American Latinos will visit this museum and learn about the influential impact their families have had on American history and culture. My dream begins with one step, so I am urging my community to call their Representatives today and tell them to pass the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act so our shared history may have a home.”
Emilio Estefan echoes Longoria’s sentiment by stating “We must act quickly and encourage Congress to work together to pass this bipartisan bill. My work with the Commission revealed that community members nationwide are eager for a museum to educate the people about the Latino community. It is time to do what is right and secure a location for the future Smithsonian American Latino Museum.”
The two former commissioners have been working in collaboration with the Friends of the American Latino Museum in its efforts to make this museum a reality.
For more information about the FRIENDS and the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act, go to www.americanlatinomuseum.org.