The Friends of the American Latino Museum (Friends), a 501(c)3 created to support the American Latino Museum initiative, surpassed 100,000 followers on Twitter and has accumulated 70,000 fans on Facebook and 67,000 supporters through its website, bringing its total reach to over 237,000 supporters. A renewed energy and hope for the museum is increasing rapidly since the introduction of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act earlier this year in the House and Senate. The Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act would designate and hold the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building as the official site for the museum.
“The history of Latinos is woven into American history going back to a time before the first pilgrim ever set foot on this land,” said Emilio Estefan, Commissioner, National Museum of the American Latino Commission and President of Estefan Enterprises. “This is the story we want to tell. These are the gaps in American history that we are trying to fill, so that all Americans have a better understanding of our shared history and legacy. It is wonderful to know, through our social media efforts, that there are thousands that support our telling this story.”
The museum would be devoted to the preservation, presentation, and interpretation of American Latino art, cultural expressions, and experiences. It would take its place among the treasury of museums within the Smithsonian Institution and would establish a new model in its integration of programs, training, research and personnel within the family of Smithsonian museums. The goal of Friends is to create a museum truly national in operational scope as well as prominent in Washington to educate the public and support the Latino community.
“It is amazing and heartening how much support this museum is getting from across the country. It shows how important it is for us to share all of the important and, many times, untold stories of the history of Latinos in building this great nation,” said Maria Cardona, Friends Board Member and CNN Political Contributor. “The public is excited about the progress of the American Latino Museum initiative, and now that support can be seen in our 100,000 followers on Twitter and over 70,000 on Facebook. All supporters of the museum should join with us in asking Congress to pass the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act now.”
“Latinos are using social media to stay connected to family, friends, and their cultural identity. Through Facebook and Twitter, Friends has immediate access to one of the largest Latino communities online in the country. Friends is redefining what a successful media strategy looks like for a diverse audience,” said Juan Proaño, President and Co-Founder, Plus Three.
The Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act was introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and has been co-sponsored by 17 other Senators including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) also introduced the bill in the House. In addition to growing public support through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, celebrities such as Eva Longoria and Emilio Estefan have lead efforts to pass the bill.