Supporting the Establishment of the National Museum of the American Latino within the Smithsonian Institution
REPRESENTATIVE LILLIAN ORTIZ-SELF, CHAIR (WA) EDUCATION | TASK FORCE
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. AND RATIFIED BY THE NATIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS OF STATE LEGISLATORS ON FEBRUARY 24, 2018 AT ITS ANNUAL MEETING HELD IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.
- Source: National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/prvi/pr27.htm
- Source: National Park Service. Available at: https://www.nps.gov/nr//travel/geo-flor/24.htm
- 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).
- Source: Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.
- Source: NHCSL projections based on U.S. Census Bureau estimates
- 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).
- For himself and Senators John Cornyn (TX), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Dean Heller (NV), and Marco Rubio (FL)
- 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