January 22, 2021

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Votes to Appoint Cárdenas to Latino Museum Board of Trustees

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) voted to appoint Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) to the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of the American Latino. Congressman Cárdenas helped shepherd the bill through the House which was included in the spending package last year.

“I am honored to be chosen by my colleagues to represent the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of the American Latino,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “Latinos have been an integral part of the success of America and, for too long, we have largely been overlooked and left out. Now that Congress has greenlit the development of the long-overdue museum with overwhelming support, the next task is to forge ahead with making it a reality. Crowds of Americans visiting Washington D.C. will be able to walk through the halls of the National Museum of the American Latino and experience how Latinas and Latinos are inseparable and fundamental to the success of our country. I can’t wait for the world to finally witness our story in our nation’s capital. The Board of Trustees has a lot of work to do; the museum is long overdue, and we will make sure the job gets done without a minute delay. I will work tirelessly to keep up this momentum we have built and to make this dream a reality.” 

“I am proud that the CHC voted to appoint Congressman Tony Cárdenas to the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of the American Latino,” said CHC Chairman Raul Ruiz, M.D. “Congressman Cárdenas was instrumental in getting Congress to authorize the development of the museum and is the right person for this role. It is past time that we have a museum dedicated to Latinos so that people from all over the United States can recognize and honor the history, culture, contributions, and accomplishments of Latino Americans to our nation. I am confident Tony will represent the CHC well and will help guide the Smithsonian in the right direction in the creation of the museum.”

“I’m thrilled that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus selected my good friend Tony Cardenas to be appointed to the Board of Trustees created by the National Museum of the American Latino Act,” said Senator Bob Menendez. “Tony was instrumental in making sure the bill made it successfully through the House before passing the baton to me in the Senate.  He will be a great champion in making sure that Latinos and Latinas are finally represented in a world class museum on the National Mall.”


“I’m excited that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has selected Tony Cárdenas to be appointed to the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of the American Latino,” said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. “As the first Mexican American congresswoman, I’m well aware of how little is known about the many sacrifices and contributions Latinos have made to our nation since its beginning. Now that we’re so close to realizing the dream of a National Latino Museum, Tony is the right person to get it over the finish line.”

The National Museum of the American Latino Board of Trustees, among other duties, is responsible for the development and maintenance of the museum. The board will also oversee policies on exhibits, programming, education, and research.

H.R. 2420, the National Museum of the American Latino Act, was included in the omnibus spending package that was signed into law in December 2020. The Senate The bill was cosponsored by 295 Democratic and Republican and passed unanimously. The lead sponsor of the bill was former Congressman José Serrano of New York and it was co-led by Representatives Tony Cárdenas and Will Hurd. The Senate companion of the bill was led by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and John Cornyn (R-TX).


About the National Museum of the American Latino:

H.R. 2420, the National Museum of the American Latino Act, builds on nearly 20 years of work by advocates and members of Congress that laid the foundation for the establishment of a national museum to celebrate the history and countless contributions of American Latinos. The first Congressional bill was introduced in 2003 by former Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) to create a commission to study the feasibility of a future museum. In 2008, that legislation was signed into law and a 23-member commission was formed soon after. In May 2011, the Commission’s work culminated in a final report presented to President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders laying out a detailed plan for the establishment of a world-class museum on the National Mall.

H.R. 2420 would establish a Board of Trustees to help guide the Smithsonian’s creation of the museum. It would authorize a 50 percent federal match to privately raised dollars for design and construction costs. It would also authorize grants to strengthen and develop American Latino Museums around the country and assist students pursuing degrees in the fields of Latino history, arts, and culture. It has been modeled closely after legislation that successfully established the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and other museums within the Smithsonian Institution.

Latinos currently comprise 18 percent of the total U.S. population, a number expected to grow to more than 30 percent by 2060.Hispanic-Americans contribute more than $1.7 trillion to the United States economy, more than the GDP of all but the top 17 nations in the world. Hispanic-Americans serve in all branches of the military and have bravely fought in every war in the history of the United States. As of 2019, there are more than 200,000 Hispanic active duty service members of the Armed Forces, and there were approximately 1,200,000 Hispanic veterans of the Armed Forces, including, 136,000 Latinas. 60 Hispanic-Americans have received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed on an individual serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.