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Letter to Senators Reid and McConnell supporting establishment of a National Museum of the American Latino Commission - 03/11/08

March 11, 2008

Dear Senators Reid and McConnell:


On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we urge you to help ensure prompt passage of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission Act (H.R. 512/S.500). This legislation would create a commission to study — and report on — the establishment of a National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, DC.

Representatives Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced H.R. 512, which had 108 co-sponsors and was passed by unanimous consent of the House on February 7, 2007. Senators Ken Salazar (D-CO), Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) are sponsoring the effort in the Senate, where the Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported favorably on the bill on June 26, 2007. The museum commission act was subsequently included as a provision of more comprehensive bills such as S. 2483, S. 2179 and S. 2616, which were introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Senator Bingaman chairs, has passed and authorized a package of dozens of House-passed bills.

Although the contributions of Americans of Latino descent span centuries and economic sectors, many people are the role they have played — and continue to play — in our nation’s history. Now that we have more than 44 million Americans of Hispanic descent, interest is stronger in ensuring that our national museums provide a more inclusive picture. The millions of schoolchildren, families and tourists from all over the world who visit Washington, DC, should have the opportunity to learn about all Americans, including Americans of Hispanic descent. Americans of Latino descent

Now is the time to move forward and create the National Museum of the American Latino Commission. We hope you will work with your Senate colleagues to ensure that this very important legislation is brought to the Senate floor and passed promptly.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations                                                                              

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Policy and Politics