May 16, 2008

Bush signs legislation for National Museum of the American Latino

NHMC Congratulates Xavier Becerra effort to secure Latino Cultural Legacy

The National Hispanic Media Coalition joins citizens across the country today in congratulating Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31) for the passage of bill H.R.512. The bill, sponsored by Becerra and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in the House of Representatives, establishes a commission to study the feasibility of a National Museum of the American Latino and brings the nation one step closer to realizing the full vision of President Lyndon B. Johnson and others in recognizing Latino contributions to America’s past, present and future.

Thanks to the leadership of Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Ken Salazar, Sen. Robert Menendez, Sen. Mel Martinez and their staff, this important legislation secures the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the efforts that established the forthcoming Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, and the extraordinary National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. “If progress is measured in baby steps, I think it’s safe to say that the president’s pen has brought this important project into its adolescence,” explained Mr. Becerra, “It is my hope that the commission will begin its work soon so that this vision, this dream, will further mature into full reality. It is truly and incredible day.”

Congressman Becerra, Assistant to the Speaker of the House, introduced this legislation during Hispanic Heritage Month in 2003. The measure, part of a larger legislative package, creates a 23-member bipartisan panel that will give the president and Congress recommendations about the scope of the project. Over a two-year period, the panel will consider the location, the cost of construction and maintenance, and the presentation of art, history, politics, business and entertainment in American Latino life.

“It’s taken Congressman Becerra nearly 5 years to get this bill signed which is a testament to his commitment to the American Latino community and the need to have a permanent place to showcase the contributions of Latinos throughout American history,” said Alex Nogales, NHMC President & CEO. “American Latinos have contributed to this country by serving in all her wars, by engaging in business and sharing the unique music, art, food and culture that has created a strong and colorful influence on the fabric of the Unites States.” Nogales continued, “This is truly a momentous occasion and we heartily thank Congressman Becerra for his leadership and tenacity throughout this important endeavor that has finally coming to fruition.”

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