Oct 13, 2009

National Museum of the American Latino Commissioners join Secretaries Salazar and Solis, Eva Longoria Parker, Emilio Estefan, and Bipartisan Members of Congress to Announce Leadership of Commission

Washington, DC – Today Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, bipartisan members of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission, activist/actor Eva Longoria Parker, producer Emilio Estefan, Henry R. Muñoz III and bipartisan Members of Congress to announce the leadership of the Commission and discuss future activities related to the study of the potential national museum in Washington, D.C.

"Today's kick-off of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission marks an unprecedented day of recognition for the Latino community in our Nation’s Capital," said Secretary Salazar. "The Latino Commission is a select group of Americans that have been called upon to provide a plan for a national museum that preserves and shares a vital part of our nation’s heritage for the benefit of all people interested in the richness of the American experience.

At today's event, Secretary Salazar was pleased to announce the leadership of the Commission – Henry R. Muñoz III would be the Chairman of the Commission, Susan Gonzales would be the 1st Vice Chair and Emilio Estefan would be the 2nd Vice Chair.

The Commission has been tasked with studying the potential of a national museum in Washington, D.C. dedicated to the art, culture, and history of the Latino Community in the United States. A report outlining a plan for the museum is to be submitted to Congress and the White House within two years of the first meeting of the Commission.

Since its conception, the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino has been a bipartisan effort. The authors of the original legislation in the House were U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra of California and U.S.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, and in the Senate, former Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado, now serving as the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Senator Mel Martinez of Florida. The legislation was signed into law by former President George W. Bush on May 2008 and is being implemented by President Barack Obama.

The make-up of the 23 member Commission has followed suit with appointments made by the President and the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Appointees include, Eva Longoria-Parker, Activist and Actress, Emilio Estefan, Producer, and Raul Danny Vargas, Former Chairman, Republican National Hispanic Assembly, to name a few.

Members were chosen for the Commission based on qualifications in museum administration, expertise in fundraising, experience in public service, and demonstrated commitment to the research, study or promotion of American Latino life, art, history, or culture.

To support this effort bipartisan Members of Congress, including Congresswoman and Chairwoman of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Chairwoman, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Senator John Ensign (R-NV) attended the press conference and offered their encouragement for the important work of the Commission in the coming years.

Contact: Julie Chavez Rodriguez, 202.208.6416

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