U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has unveiled a proposal to build an American Latino Museum in the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The proposal has backing from Republicans and Democrats.
Menendez said in a news release, “We are in a new era in which Latinos are a much greater part of our national discourse. Through the years, our numbers have grown as well as our significance to the story of America. A Museum of the American Latino would officially acknowledge our great history in the United States, and educate visitors about how the success of this country could not have been accomplished without the achievements of Hispanic Americans.”
The New Jersey politician was joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in calling for the museum. This authorization of the museum follows the recommendations of the May 2011 report by the bipartisan Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of American Latino, a Commission that was established by law in 2008.
Rubio said, “This will be an enduring monument as much to the people who have found opportunity and refuge in America as it is a tribute to our exceptional country that has always welcomed people and helped them realize their dreams like no other place in human history. At a time when our nation faces major economic and fiscal challenges, I am pleased that this effort will not rely on taxpayer dollars and that this bill will encourage private fundraising efforts to make it a reality.”