Hispanic Lawmakers Request Meeting with Smithsonian After Report Finds Lack of Latino Visibility
A recent report from UCLA’s Latino Policy & Politics Initiative found the Smithsonian has failed to act on most of the recommendations made in a 1994 report, including working with Congress to launch a new Latino Smithsonian museum. The report highlights a lack of Latino representation on the Smithsonian’s leadership, including its governing board; decreased funding when measured as a percentage of the Smithsonian’s federal budget; and a lack of accountability for its programs. Now, Hispanic lawmakers want a meeting with Smithsonian InstitutionSecretary David Skorton. Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Congresswoman Michelle Luján Grisham (D-NM), along with CHC leadership, penned a letter expressing their concerns. “As Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, we remain deeply concerned about the lack of progress on Latino inclusion efforts from the Smithsonian Institution,” they write. “Researchers note that there has not been a single mention of a museum for the Latino American in any of its annual reports since 1994, despite the fact that there has been an active effort led by Congress for the past 15 years.” Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ) and Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY) are the primary sponsors of the National Museum of the American Latino Act -- a bipartisan, bicameral legislative effort to establish the museum within the Smithsonian Institution and celebrate the history, culture, arts, and contributions made by Latinos in the U.S. Given the findings, lawmakers requested a meeting in the very near future. We’ll keep you posted. Read their letter here.