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July 30, 2020

House passes bill to establish American Latino Museum

Credit: WDVM, Katie Misuraca

WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The House of Representatives has passed a bill to establish a Smithsonian museum for American Latinos that would showcase the Latino history, art, and culture.

“It is a patriotic red, white, and blue initiative about a more complete and accurate telling of American history,” said the chairman of the board of Friends of the American Latino Museum, also known as FRIENDS, Danny Vargas. “It is too illuminate the American story for the benefit of everybody.”

Since the beginning, Vargas has been a supporter and a leader of establishing a museum of American Latino history on the National Mall.

“People just do not know the depth of American history,” continued Vargas. “Mostly, it is not taught in grade school. It’s not included in our history books. It is not displayed in our museum.”

The House passed the National Museum of the American Latino Act to dedicate over 500 years of American Latino contributions to the country’s military, sciences, economic power, civil rights, and the arts.

“It is not just for the Latino community,” said Vargas. “It is for our entire nation our society to get a better sense of who we are our as people, a country.”

The act passed from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle including Maryland Congressman, David Trone.

“It is a huge group of folks that have not been recognized in the past,” said Trone in a phone interview Tuesday.

FRIENDS says the concept of the museum was originally proposed in a 1994 Smithsonian report called “Willful Neglect.” The act now heads to the Senate. The Senate also introduced a similar bill.

Vargas said the National Museum of African American History and Culture has helped paved the way for the American Latino Museum.