Latino museum will be built in D.C. after 25-year effort by Menendez

Posted Dec 21, 2020

A new National Museum of the American Latino will be built in Washington under a provision included in legislation funding the federal government through Sept. 30.

The effort had been spearheaded by New Jersey U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez for a quarter-century, dating back to his tenure in the U.S. House. Menendez was the first Latino elected to Congress from New Jersey.

“We have overcome tremendous obstacles and unbelievable hurdles to get to this historic moment, but, as I’ve said before, Latinos are used to overcoming obstacles,” Menendez said. “With this vote, Latinos and Latinas across our nation will finally have their stories, struggles, and impact on our country validated by the United States Congress.”

“As a first-generation Cuban American, I know what it’s like to feel invisible in a nation where Latinos are seldom celebrated,” Menendez said. He said he was looking forward to taking his grandchildren to the museum once it opened.

The effort was bipartisan with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, co-sponsoring the bill with Menendez and Reps. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., and Will Hurd, R-Texas, introducing the measure in the House.

After the House passed the legislation creating the museum by voice vote, Menendez had sought to clear the bill in the Senate on Dec. 10, but U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, blocked action.

“The last thing we need is to further divide a already divided our nation with an array of segregated separate but equal museums for hyphenated identity groups,” Lee said at the time.

Instead, the museum was added to the final spending bill, along with authorization to build a Women’s History Museum.

Both would be under the auspices of the Smithsonian Museum.

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published this page in News and Politics 2020-12-22 04:06:58 -0800