By Lisa Sturgis
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress has approved plans for a museum dedicated to Latino Americans. The news comes on the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, (D-Ariz.) announced Tuesday the National Museum of the American Latino Act, which she co-sponsored, unanimously passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bi-partisan bill authorizes the construction and operation of the National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, D.C. as part of the Smithsonian Institute.
“Building the National Museum of the American Latino in our nation’s capital honors the extraordinary contributions of Arizona’s Latino community, which has greatly enriched our economy, culture, and history,” said Sinema.
In 2008, Congress passed bipartisan legislation creating the National Museum of the American Latino Commission. It produced a report recommending the construction of the National Museum of the American Latino.
Sinema’s legislation comes as a result of that report—officially creating a museum board of trustees to plan and design the museum. It also designates four possible location sites in Washington, D.C., and specifying that the museum may be funded by a combination of federal appropriations and private funding.
Nearly one in three Arizonans is Latino, and the Latino history and culture is closely connected to Arizona’s history. Latinos make up close to 18% of the U.S. population and annually contribute more than $2.13 trillion toward the nation’s gross domestic product.