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Single senator launches hopes for Latin American and women’s museums – for now

“The so-called critical theory underlying this movement does not celebrate diversity; it harnesses diversity, ”he said. “He sharpens all those hyphens like knives and daggers. It turned our college campuses into grievance contests and cowardly Orwellian crowds to nullify anyone who dared to express an original thought.

Speaking to Mr Menendez, he said Latino and women’s history should be part of existing Smithsonian museums, and as these topics were not properly represented there, this should be the focus of Congress, and not the building of new institutions.

Mr. Menendez, furious, was far from convinced.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Sixty million Latinos in this country are watching tonight because it’s a highly anticipated moment. Univision, Telemundo, affiliates across the country, national organizations and others have been waiting for this moment – a moment that everyone in Congress in the United States agrees with except one colleague.

He argued that Latinos were just as entitled to their own cultural institution as African Americans and Native Americans, to whom the Smithsonian Museums have been devoted in recent years. When Mr. Lee said these groups had their histories “virtually erased” by the government seeking to enslave or eradicate them, giving them a unique right to dedicated federal facilities, Mr. Menendez said Latinos, they too had been “systematically excluded. “

Mr. Lee is not the first to worry about the Smithsonian’s divide into several identity-based museums. This concern, along with budgetary issues, has been one of the main points of opposition to a Latin museum in recent years amid sweeping lobbying campaigns for it.

But Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who tried to pass the bill creating a women’s history museum, lamented that “it seems wrong” that a single senator subverts a clear majority that favored women. institutions.

“Surely, in a year when we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, now is the time, now is the time to finally adopt the legislation unanimously recommended by an independent commission to create a museum of the history of American women in our nation’s capital, ”Ms. Collins said. “I regret that this does not happen tonight, but we will not give up the fight.”