April 18, 2008

Senate Approves Bill Including Latino Museum, César Chávez Provisions

WASHINGTON, DC - The United States Senate passed legislation that includes provisions which could lead to the creation of a National Museum of the American Latino, and also paves the way for the designation of various historic sites around the country after the legendary César Chávez. The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (S. 2739), which the Senate passed last week, includes both the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of American Latino Act of 2007 (S.500/H.R. 512), as well as the César Estrada Chávez Study Act.

“I am proud that Senate Democrats led the way to approve legislation today that honors the countless contributions of Hispanic Americans to our country,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. “By approving a bill that would eventually honor Latinos with a national museum in Wasington, DC, and that would pave the way for honoring historical sites related to civil rights icon César Chávez, the Senate helped bring recognition to the vital place that Latinos have in our national mosaic.”

The Latino museum legislation would establish a Commission to study the potential creation of a national museum in Washington, DC dedicated to the art, culture, and history of Hispanic Americans. The bill passed by voice vote in the House of Representatives on February 6, 2007. It will now head back to the House for final action as part of a larger package of bills.

“I believe we must celebrate the diversity of our Nation and Latinos in general, and César Chávez in particular, has been a significant part of American history. They have contributed to nearly every facet of our culture including the arts, business, and served in our Nation’s military with distinction,” said Senator Salazar (D-CO). “These bills would take the first step in commemorating the rich contributions of the Latino community to American life, and would honor César Chávez as one of our nation’s top civil rights leaders.”

“I believe we must celebrate the diversity of our Nation and Latinos in general, and César Chávez in particular, has been a significant part of American history. They have contributed to nearly every facet of our culture including the arts, business, and served in our Nation’s military with distinction,” said Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO). “These bills would take the first step in commemorating the rich contributions of the Latino community to American life, and would honor César Chávez as one of our nation’s top civil rights leaders.”

The César Chávez provision would authorize the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of sites associated with the life of César Estrada Chávez. The study would help determine whether those sites meet the criteria for being listed on the National Register of Historic Places or possible designation as national historic landmarks. The house version is sponsored by Rep. Hilda Solís (H.R. 359) and was passed in July 2007. This bill is also contained in the package that will move to the House for final action.

“The contributions of Latinos in this country are innumerable and I am delighted that we are one step closer to fulfilling the dream of having a Museum of the American Latino on the national mall and historically significant places in the life of César Chávez designated as national landmarks”, said Sen. Robert Menéndez (D-NJ). “These initiatives acknowledge the major part Latinos have played in weaving our historical fabric and strengthening our nation.”

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