Washington, D.C. (October 8, 2012) -- As we celebrate the final week of Hispanic Heritage Month, the American Latino Heritage Fund (ALHF) of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, today proudly joined the President of the United States Barack Obama, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, in establishing the César E. Chávez National Monument as an official park of the National Park System. Located within the property known as Nuestra Señora Reina de La Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), the Monument commemorates the home and final resting place of renowned Latino civil rights activist, César E. Chávez, which also served as the former headquarters for the labor movement he helped create – the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).
The American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation has dedicated $150,000 needed to open and fund operations of the national monument throughout its first year. ALHF’s mission is anchored in preserving the full spectrum of American Latino history in the U.S. by identifying and celebrating historic sites and places essential to understanding the influence of Latinos’ cultural, economic and civic contributions to the American story.
“The national park system exists to tell the stories of this nation and its people, and to provide individuals with a place to visit and honor those contributions. Today’s dedication is a seminal moment as we ensure this historic chapter is noted in our American history,” said Neil Mulholland, President & CEO of the National Park Foundation. “The American Latino Heritage Fund is dedicated to ensuring that the contributions of this nation’s Latino community, like César Chávez’s legacy of equality and rights, are honored and protected forever.”
“César Chávez, and his fight for equal rights had a profound impact and lasting legacy for this nation,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar who also serves as Chairman of the National Park Foundation’s Board of Directors and Founder of the American Latino Heritage Fund. “We are proud to welcome this important site into the national park system and thank the National Park Foundation’s American Latino Heritage Fund for their support and commitment to this important cause.”
While the Latino community accounts for approximately 54 million people in the American population, Latinos represent only nine percent (9%) of national park visitors. The American Latino Heritage Fund is working to improve that statistic by focusing on three core efforts:
- Preserving the Full Spectrum of American Latino History
To engage the Latino community and stakeholders involved in historic preservation in identifying historic sites and places essential to understanding the impact of Latino heritage in the United States. ALHF funding is applied to working with groups in nominating these sites to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places and/or the National Historic Landmark program.
- Catalyzing a National Dialogue that Shares a More Inclusive Story of the American Experience
The American Latino Heritage Fund has created a grant program to help the National Park Service, and other partners, raise the profile of American Latino heritage and history while increasing Latinos’ attendance at national parks.
- Opening Channels of Engagement for Participation at National Parks
ALHF is partnering with recreation experts and the National Park Service to identify innovative ways to engage the Latino community in outdoor recreation opportunities that support the cultures and lifestyles of today’s diverse American public.
“By bringing the César E. Chávez National Monument into the national park system, the American Latino Heritage Fund is fulfilling a crucial component in its national role to help preserve American Latino History,” concludes Midy Aponte, Executive Director of the American Latino Heritage Fund. “American Latino History is American History. We hope that in honoring the legacy of César Chávez, we can trumpet his story, so that school children know his name and future generations appreciate his struggle.”
ABOUT THE AMERICAN LATINO HERITAGE FUND
The American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation will assist the National Park Service and communities across the country to ensure that our national parks and historic sites preserve, reflect and engage the diverse stories and communities of American Latinos for future generations. For more information, please visit www.ALHF.org.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, raises private funds that directly aid, support and enrich America’s nearly 400 national parks and their programs. Chartered by Congress as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation plays a critical role in conservation and preservation efforts, establishing national parks as powerful learning environments, and giving all audiences an equal and abundant opportunity to experience, enjoy and support America’s treasured places. Learn more at www.nationalparks.org.
# # #