The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation that will establish a Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino in Washington.
The bipartisan bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) and Will Hurd (R-Texas). The legislation gained the support of 295 co-sponsors before it was voted on.
“After nearly 20 years of work, the National Museum of the American Latino Act was finally considered and approved with overwhelming bipartisan support,” said Serrano, the dean of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and chief sponsor of the bill.
The new Smithsonian would be constructed on the National Mall. The construction is projected to cost $700 million, half of which will need to be collected by the board of trustees through fundraising efforts, the other half will be allocated by the federal government.
Hurd said that almost 60 million Latino Americans call the United States their home and that that number is only increasing.
“To fully understand American history, we have to understand all our history. With our actions today, we are one step closer to cementing the stories, history, and culture of the American Latino on the National Mall,” said Hurd in a statement.
“This long-overdue legislation will celebrate the contributions of generations of Latinos, acknowledging this truth: that Latino history is American history,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) also applauded the passage of the bipartisan legislation.
“Latinos have been contributing to and making American history for the past 500 years. It is important we recognize the diversity of our country and celebrate Latino art, culture, history, and contributions to our national life with a museum within the Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall,” said Hoyer.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said the Museum is will be vital in telling the nation’s “Latino story.”
“From the first arrival of Spanish-speaking settlers in what is today Florida and the American Southwest to the essential workers keeping America fed and running during this COVID-19 pandemic, Latinos are a central thread in the fabric of our nation,” said Castro.
It took an effort that began in 2003 by advocates and members of Congress to see H.R. 2420, the National Museum of the American Latino Act, passed in the House, the first step to seeing it become a law. “Now, we call on our colleagues in the Senate to follow the House’s lead and finish the job by immediately considering H.R. 2420,” said Serrano.