Washington, DC — Today, the President signed an Executive Order directing the administration to review national monuments over 100,000 acres designated after 1996 under the Antiquities Act. A significant number of the monuments covered under this review represent designations made under the Antiquities Act by previous presidents to celebrate the diverse people and places that have contributed to our nation’s history. The Next 100 Coalition urges the Administration and Congress to use this review to consider what additional designations are necessary to fill in missing elements of our national narrative, as well as represent a future that respects all cultures and engages all people. The President’s action is a threat to our nation’s diverse and inclusive national monuments.
The Order calls for the review of places such as the Bears Ears National Monument, Gold Butte National Monument, San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and so many others that reflect the diverse experiences of our country, respect all cultures, and engage all people.
The Next 100 Coalition strongly supported the designation of these special places as national monuments, and continues to support them as essential cultural and historical touchstones for a variety of people and communities.
We support the judicious use of the Antiquities Act by presidents of both political parties to protect, respect, and elevate diverse and inclusive histories. We will hold the Administration and other elected and appointed leaders accountable for any attempts to marginalize, erase, or censor our stories, histories and experiences in this country.
The designation of places like Bears Ears National Monument demonstrates that U.S. leaders are taking steps toward healing from the painful history of attempts to alienate communities and eradicate cultures and beliefs. Today’s action by the President unfortunately takes us giant steps backward and reopens painful wounds for many communities.
We reiterate the significance of the values summarized in the Presidential Memorandum on Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and other Public Lands and Waters (2017). A powerful sign of our democratic ideals, these places belong to all Americans – rich and poor, urban and rural, young and old, from all backgrounds, genders, cultures, religious viewpoints, and walks of life.
REACTIONS FROM GREENLATINOS AND THE CESAR CHAVEZ FOUNDATION:
GreenLatinos, a member of the Next 100 coalition and the Cesar Chavez Foundation spoke out in defense of the Antiquities Act, and several national monuments that protect local and cultural heritage:
The Antiquities Act has been used to protect America’s most iconic natural, cultural, and historic places such as Bears Ears in Utah, Gold Butte in Nevada, César E. Chávez (La Paz) and the San Gabriel Mountains in California, and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico.
“Latinos throughout America have a strong connection to public lands and sustaining them is a key priority for the Hispanic community. In fact, poll after poll shows that Latino voters view conservation and protecting public lands as an almost unanimous community priority. This Administration’s continued hostilities toward public lands and attempts to systematically weaken their protections will be met with tremendous resistance from the Latino community,” said Mark Magaña, President and CEO of GreenLatinos.
“Latinos and westerners in general want better environmental safeguards through protection of and access to America’s public lands. President Trump should honor this mandate and preserve prior monument designations, including those recognizing our historic contributions and diversity, not undermine them or the Antiquities Act, which has protected our most treasured public lands for more than a century,” said Paul F. Chavez, President of the Cesar Chavez Foundation.
“The Cesar Chavez National Monument is the first National Monument honoring a Latino born after the 1700s. I took my 16 year old son Sam to see President Barack Obama dedicate the monument. Moments like this will be as natural as day and night for Sam, seeing monuments honoring people of color and a person of color as president. Without César Chávez, President Obama, and the Civil Rights Revolution, none of this would have happened. We need more monuments celebrating diversity, inclusion, and equal justice,” said Robert García, GreenLatinos Board Member and The City Project Director-Counsel.
“This Executive Order is a shameful blemish on our country, history. and values. Allowing the rollback of protections for any monument puts all monuments at risk and we cannot allow that. We will defend the Antiquities Act and the cultural significance and place in history that our National Monuments represent,” said Laura M. Esquivel, Director of National Advocacy, Hispanic Federation, and Co-Chair, Energy and Environment Committee, National Hispanic Leadership Agenda.
“The executive order signed today signals the President and his Administration’s deliberate intent to erase and suppress the heritage and experience of peoples throughout our American history. It is a step toward silencing the contributions of leaders, and the stories of cultures that made this country great. It is deliberate decision to wipe the treasured lands where historic events unfolded,” said Midy Aponte, Former Executive Director of the American Latino Heritage Fund.
“Trump’s Executive Order is an affront to the Latino community in New Mexico, who fought tirelessly for decades with conservationists, sportsmen, local elected officials and small business owners to protect the precious historical, cultural and ecological resources of places like the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments,” said Michael Casaus, the New Mexico State Director with The Wilderness Society. “These protected areas help to fuel local economies and sustain jobs, which is why local communities took years to carefully consider and finally endorse these monuments. The order to ‘review’ these monuments is part of a larger agenda to sell or lease more of our public lands for drilling and mining.”
The Next 100 Coalition of civil rights, environmental justice, conservation, religious and community organizations is advocating for greater inclusion of diverse communities in our country’s national parks and other public lands. For more information visit http://next100coalition.org
GreenLatinos is a national nonprofit organization that convenes a broad coalition of Latino leaders committed to addressing national, regional and local environmental, natural resources and conservation issues that significantly affect the health and welfare of the Latino community in the United States. GreenLatinos provides an inclusive table at which its members establish collaborative partnerships and networks to improve the environment; protect and promote conservation of land and other natural resources; amplify the voices of minority, lowincome and tribal communities; and train, mentor, and promote the current and future generations of Latino environmental leaders for the benefit of the Latino community and beyond. GreenLatinos develops and advocates for policies and programs to advance this mission. For more information visit http://www.greenlatinos.org/
Founded by the legendary civil rights and farm labor leader, the Cesar Chavez Foundation improves communities in need by focusing on four critical areas: it has built or renovated and manages 5,000 units of high quality affordable housing at 42 communities in four states; it operates Radio Campesina, a nine-station educational radio network with more than 500,000 daily listeners in four states; it provides rigorous academic tutoring for underprivileged students in California and Arizona school districts; and it operates the National Chavez Center, which promotes the legacy of Cesar Chavez. For more information visit www.chavezfoundation.org.