From: Sam Eskenazi, Director
Date: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 12:41 PM
Subject: Status Update — National Museum of the American People
1. Progress to date
Since 2009, 104 organizations* have joined the Coalition for the National Museum of the American People. In April of this year a Congressional resolution* calling for a bipartisan Presidential Commission to study establishment of the museum was drafted by the Congressional Legislative Office. Unfortunately, just before it was to start circulating in Congress for cosponsors the primary backer had to pull back citing other priorities. Other members of the House and Senate have been contacted over the last few months to become primary sponsors, but the timing, with so few legislative days left before the next election, is not conducive to action at this time. Many experienced players in Washington have advised teeing this proposal up for action very early in the next session of Congress which starts in January. Following is my plan going forward and I invite your comments and suggestions.
2. Next four months (Aug. – Nov.)
a. Add to the Coalition – I will continue to contact other ethnic and minority organizations to build the Coalition. I welcome your assistance in recruiting other national or major ethnic and minority organizations to join the Coalition.
b. Add scholars – I would like to add more eminent scholars to the scholars who support his project.* I welcome your suggestions of scholars who study the movements of peoples to this land and this nation, including those who have studied the immigration or migration of your particular group.
c. Start Distinguished Board of Advisors — I’m planning to initiate a Distinguished Board of Advisors that would consist of well-known or eminent naturalized citizens (for example: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA)/Austria, Madeleine Albright/Czech Republic, Zbigniew Brzezinski/Poland, Elaine Chao/Taiwan, Gov. Jennifer Granholm (MI)/Canada, Elie Wiesel/Romania, Gen. John Shalikashvili/Georgia, Arianna Huffington/Greece, Henry Kissinger/Germany, I.M. Pei/China, etc.) and other eminent Americans such as former Supreme Court justices, former leaders of Congress, leading diplomatic and political figures, and leaders of industry, business, education, the professions and our culture who support this endeavor. The Distinguished Board of Advisors would be helpful in a variety of ways, including simply lending their name to this cause. Your assistance in recruiting members for this Board or providing me with contact information for these candidates is most welcome.
d. Contact chairs of ethnic and minority Congressional Caucuses – There are nearly 50 ethnic and minority Congressional Caucuses on Capitol Hill, each ranging from a handful to more than 100 Members of Congress. I know that most of your organizations work closely with your respective caucus and I have met with Republican and Democratic staffers from more than a dozen of these caucuses to brief them about
this project. Following the November election, I would like to ask each of you to begin contacting the leaders and members of your caucus to brief them about this project and urge their support of a bipartisan resolution early in the next Congress.
3. Obtain primary Congressional sponsors.
Following the election, a primary goal will be to find lead bipartisan Congressional sponsors in the House and Senate for the bipartisan resolution calling for the Presidential Commission. I hope the resolution will be introduced very early in the new Congress which begins in January.
4. Press event to announce Coalition.
In an effort to build media and public support for this project in the next Congress, I plan to announce the Coalition, the Distinguished Board of Advisors, and the scholars at a Washington press event late this year or early next year. I would include representatives of the Coalition, Distinguished Board of Advisors, scholars and primary Congressional supporters at the press event. The purpose of the event would be to create interest around the nation for the museum and set the stage for early Congressional and White House action in 2011. Following the press event I will ask your organization to help spread the word about the National Museum of the American People through your ethnic and minority newspapers, magazines, radio and television programs, blogs, websites, membership communications, etc. Following the press event, I will contact columnists, commentators and editorial writers to urge them to discuss and support this effort and I would welcome your help with this as well.
After what is expected to be a divisive election season, this project could be the vehicle that helps bring our nation together. The museum’s motto could well be our original national motto – e pluribus unum, from many we are one.
Director, Coalition for the National Museum of the American People