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NHCSL is the preeminent organization serving and representing the interests of Hispanic state legislators from all states, commonwealths, and territories of the United States. Our mission is to serve as a catalyst for joint action on issues of common concern to all segments of the Hispanic community; a forum for information exchange and member networking; an institute for leadership training; a liaison with sister U.S. NHCSL - National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators http://nhcsl.org/img/layout/logo.png US United States Washington 20001 444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 40

Resolutions

NHCSL Resolutions 2018
2018-3
REPRESENTATIVE LILLIAN ORTIZ-SELF, CHAIR (WA) EDUCATION | TASK FORCE
Supporting the Establishment of the National Museum of the American Latino within the Smithsonian Institution

Sponsored by: Sen. Catherine Miranda (AZ)

WHEREAS, Latinos have been an important part of the history of the United States since before the founding; and,

WHEREAS, Latino influences are prevalent in the naming of numerous cities, towns, bodies of water and other geographic features along with other locations throughout the United States, including the names of several states like California, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Texas, and Nevada; and,

WHEREAS, the oldest continuously occupied European-established city under the United States flag is San Juan in Puerto Rico a mainly Hispanic city, founded by Spanish settlers in 1521 after the population moved from the Spanish settlement of Caparra, founded in 1508; and,

WHEREAS, the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the 50 United States is St. Augustine in Florida, founded in 1565 by Spanish settlers; and,

WHEREAS, El Norte, the cultural region that today runs from San Luis Obispo, CA in the west, to Victoria, TX in the east, to Pueblo, CO in the north, comprising southern California and the Imperial Valley, southern Arizona, most of New Mexico, south and west Texas and mid-southern Colorado, along with northern Mexico, was founded by Spanish settlers in the late sixteenth century, before the arrival of the Pilgrims or the founding of Jamestown and has had since then a dominant Hispanic culture and societal norms with strong use of Spanish; and,

WHEREAS, Latinos have fought in every war of the United States; and,

WHEREAS, the historical contributions that Latinos have made to American society have been erased from history and history books; and,

WHEREAS, Hispanics are currently the largest minority in the United States, comprising 18% of the population, or 58.6 million persons — about the same size as the entire populations of California and Texas, combined; and,

WHEREAS, Hispanics are expected to be the largest ethnic group in the United States before the end of the century; and,

WHEREAS, today, Spanish is the second most common language in the United States because of the strong presence of Latinos in American society; and,

WHEREAS, the Smithsonian Institution is a renowned world leader in research, education, and museums; and,

WHEREAS, the campaign to create a Smithsonian American Latino Museum started in 1994 when the Smithsonian issued a report called Willful Neglect and it found that Latinos were tremendously underrepresented throughout its entire Institution. One of the major recommendations (#4 in the opening summary) was to build a Latino Museum; and,

WHEREAS, by appointment of President George W. Bush and Congressional leadership, the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino issued a bipartisan final report on May 5, 2011 which was released at the White House; and,

WHEREAS, on June 15, 2017, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida introduced H.R. 2911 and Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey introduced S. 1364, both entitled the National Museum of the American Latino Act; and,

WHEREAS, according to those bills, the Museum will be “devoted to the documentation and explication of Latino life, art, history, and culture;” and,
WHEREAS, “The National Museum of the American Latino will be the keystone for people in the United States and other Smithsonian Institution visitors to learn about Latino contributions to life, art, history, and culture in the United States at its signature location on the National Mall;” and,
WHEREAS, “The National Museum of the American Latino will serve as a gateway for visitors to view other Latino exhibitions, collections, and programming at other Smithsonian Institution facilities and museums throughout the United States and the territories of the United States;” and,

WHEREAS, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators commits to the arts, to the principles of diversity and to building a more inclusive community, and underscores that the Latino community is vital to American life, art, culture, and industry as well as our neighborhoods and communities; and,

WHEREAS, on December 9, 2014, The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators ratified Resolution 2014-03, sponsored by Senator Juan Pichardo of Rhode Island, in support of H.R. 1217 and S. 568 to establish within the Smithsonian Institution the Smithsonian American Latino Museum and designate the Arts and Industries Building as its future location in Washington, D.C., and,

WHEREAS, based on that prior Resolution, on October 12, 2017, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators joined nearly 100 National community organizations, universities and advocacy groups in signing on as an official partner of the campaign for a Smithsonian National American Latino Museum established by the organization Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators renews its support for the establishment the National Museum of the American Latino on the National Mall in Washington D.C., among the other landmark Smithsonian Institutions to highlight the history, contributions and successes of the Latino community in America; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators endorses and offers its support for all federal legislation, particularly H.R. 2911 and S. 1364, that would establish a National Museum of the American Latino as part of the Smithsonian Institution in the National Mall, underscoring that disputes over the location should not impede the establishment if the locations are equally prominent; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution be sent to the President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representative and other members of the House leadership, the Vice President of the United States as President of the Senate, and other members of the Senate leadership, Senators Robert Menendez (NJ), John Cornyn (TX), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Dean Heller (NV), and Marco Rubio (FL), Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Jose Serrano (NY), Carlos Curbelo (FL), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM), Antonio Cárdenas (CA), Norma Torres (CA), William Hurd (TX), Peter King (NY), and Daniel Newhouse (WA), the organization Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, and all other officials, stakeholders and interested parties.

THIS RESOLUTION WAS APPROVED BY THE NHCSL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE DURING ITS FEBRUARY 22, 2018 MEETING IN CHICAGO, IL.?

Issue Brief – FOR LEGISLATORS ONLY
Note: The NHCSL Policy office prepared this resolution at the behest of Sen. Catherine Miranda and it already contains our substantiated best efforts on the subject. The NHCSL staff worked closely with the organization Friends of the of the National Museum of the American Latino in the drafting of the Resolution and we wish to thank them for their contributions to the historical accounts contained in it about the development of the movement to build the Museum since 1994. Other facts about Latino history and demographics in general were researched in the NHCSL office.

On December 9, 2014, The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators ratified Resolution 2014-03, sponsored by Sen. Juan Pichardo (RI), in support of H.R. 1217 and S. 568 to establish within the Smithsonian Institution the Smithsonian American Latino Museum and designate the Arts and Industries Building as its future location in Washington, D.C.

As stated in the current bills, the National Museum of the American Latino will be the keystone for people in the United States and other Smithsonian Institution visitors to learn about Latino contributions to life, art, history, and culture in the United States at its signature location on the National Mall and will further serve as a gateway for visitors to view other Latino exhibitions, collections, and programming at other Smithsonian Institution facilities and museums throughout the United States and the territories of the United States.

What is this Resolution calling for?

- This Resolution renews NHCSL’s call for the building of the National Museum of the American Latino on the national mall or another suitably prestigious Washington location, considering the new bills introduced in this Congress:
1. H.R. 2911 by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), for herself and Representatives Jose Serrano (NY), Carlos Curbelo (FL), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM), Antonio Cárdenas (CA), Norma Torres (CA), William Hurd (TX), Peter King (NY), and Daniel Newhouse (WA); and,
2. S. 1364 by Senator Robert Menendez (NJ), for himself and Senators John Cornyn (TX), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Dean Heller (NV), and Marco Rubio (FL)

- This Resolution clarifies that the location doesn’t have to be the Arts and Industries Building but must be a suitably prominent location in Washington, DC, preferably in the National Mall.

Pros
- The Resolution keeps the conversation about the National Museum of the American Latino current, showing that we will not forget about the importance of this issue
- The Resolution supports prior NHCSL efforts in this regard, both via resolutions and via staff actions
- The Resolution highlights the cultural and historical importance of Latinos in the United States
- The Museum is simply a necessity for all the reasons highlighted by the Smithsonian’s own research

Cons
- The proposed Museum would share its staff with other Smithsonian Institutions
- The proposed Museum will require great fundraising efforts because, like others in the Smithsonian, it will not be fully funded by the Federal Government, requiring 50% private funds


1. Source: National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/prvi/pr27.htm
2. Source: National Park Service. Available at: https://www.nps.gov/nr//travel/geo-flor/24.htm
3. Colin Woodard, AMERICAN NATIONS: A HISTORY OF THE ELEVEN RIVAL REGIONAL CULTURES OF NORTH AMERICA, Chapters 1 and 19 (Viking 2011) (detailing the founding of El Norte and describing its culture and integration into the United States).
4. Source: Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.
5. Source: NHCSL projections based on U.S. Census Bureau estimates
6. https://siarchives.si.edu/sites/default/files/forum-pdfs/Willful_Neglect_The_Smithsonian_Institution%20and_US_Latinos.pdf
7. http://americanlatinomuseum.org/welcome/about/
8. For herself and Representatives Jose Serrano (NY), Carlos Curbelo (FL), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM), Antonio Cárdenas (CA), Norma Torres (CA), William Hurd (TX), Peter King (NY), and Daniel Newhouse (WA).
9. For himself and Senators John Cornyn (TX), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Dean Heller (NV), and Marco Rubio (FL)
10. H.R. 2911 (115th Congress). Available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2911/text. S. 1364 (115th Congress). Available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1364/text
11. Id.
12. Id.
13. Id.
14. http://americanlatinomuseum.org/news/in_the_news/nearly_100_national_organizations_sign_on_as_partners_of_campaign_for_a_smithsonian_national_american_latino_museum/index.html

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