Hispanic members of Congress on Thursday re-introduced a bicameral and bipartisan bill to create a national Smithsonian Museum of the American Latino.
"The legislation seeks to adopt the same funding model used to build and operate the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and authorizes the Board of Regents to allocate future resources to the Smithsonian Institution for design, planning, and construction and operation of the Museum," according to a release from Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the lead Senate sponsor of the bill. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., introduced the House bill.
According to Menendez's statement, an American Latino museum "would, for the first time on a national basis, officially acknowledge that the success of this country could not have been accomplished without the achievements of Hispanic Americans."
"The proud story of Latinos in the U.S. is an integral part of American history worth telling, and I can't think of a better way for Congress to honor our nation's rich multiculturalism than by passing this bill," Menendez said Thursday. "At a time of heightened fear and uncertainty for our nation's Latino community, swift and long-overdue action on this legislation would help send a clear message that we refuse to turn our backs on them."
"The history and culture of American Latinos are ingrained in the fabric of this great nation," Cornyn said. "More than one-third of the Texans I represent identify as Hispanic, and I'm proud to again join Sen. Menendez as we fight to honor their heritage with this first step for a museum."
The lawmakers were joined by Hispanic actresses Eva Longoria and Diane Guerrero of Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin on Thursday.
Similar bills have been introduced in the past, and a Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino was established in May 2008.