[NOW Action List] Help the National Women's History Museum Find A Home!
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NOW Action Alert
Support NOW's Work | March 31, 2006 | Tell a Friend

Action Needed

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Help the National Women's History Museum Find A Home!

Action Needed:

Please urge your representative to support The National Women's History Museum Act of 2005 which is now stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives. Legislation that would make available a vacant federal building for the National Women's History Museum has hit a roadblock in the House and may fall victim to big time D.C. hotel development politics and Jack Abramoff. Ask your representative to call Speaker Dennis Hastert's office and request that this legislation be placed on the suspension calendar and brought to a floor vote. We need to ACT NOW

The Senate has already unanimously passed a bill (S. 501) by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) providing a home for the National Women's History Museum, but the legislation is now bogged down in a House subcommittee. We need the House to act before it's too late and we have to start over.

A massive outcry from women's rights activists urging House members to expedite approval of the bill is needed now -- especially timely as Women's History Month draws to a close today. Use our formatted message or write one of your own -- but please send your message as soon as possible. Forward this email on to your friends and relatives as well.

Take Action!

Background:

In 1987 Congress declared March as "Women's History Month." However, almost two decades later, there is still no permanent structure to honor women's legacy. Founded in 1996, the National Women's History Museum, Inc. (NWHM) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution dedicated to the rich and diverse history of women's contributions to U.S. culture and society. The effort to find a permanent site in Washington, D.C., began in the late 1990s. The NWHM leadership learned of a prime site only a few blocks from the White House and National Mall and began a campaign to acquire the site as a home for women's history treasures.

In July 2005 the Senate unanimously approved S. 501, The National Women's History Museum Act of 2005, sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and 23 co-sponsors. This legislation directs the General Services Administration to enter into a long-term occupancy agreement with the NWHM to develop a choice location in the Pavilion Annex adjoining the Old Post Office Building in D.C. At about the same time, powerful lobbyists began pressuring congressional leaders to give their clients "special considerations" in gaining access to the Old Post Office Building and the 100,000 square foot, three-story glass enclosed Annex. According to a Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill (March 2, 2006), now disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff had been vying for the property through his contact at the General Services Administration, David Safavian. Savafian has since been indicted for lying to federal investigators about his ties to Abramoff.

The House counterpart to the Senate bill is H.R. 1429, sponsored by Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) and a bipartisan slate of 31 co-sponsors. The House leadership has the power to bring this bill to a floor vote, but there has been no movement in the subcommittee since it was referred there last September.

Meanwhile, the building sits vacant and the NWHM needs a home. The nation's capital is replete with monuments and museums that tell important histories - but nothing is available that tells the story of women's accomplishments. The NWHM is different from the current National Museum of Women in the Arts because the new facility would showcase women's contributions to history and society rather than to the visual arts.

Take Action!

The National Women's History Museum already has an admirable record of presenting women's history-related programs. Its most important programmatic initiative for 2004-2005 was "Partners in Winning the War -- American Women in World War II", an exhibition opened on May 30, 2004, to coincide with the dedication of the World War II Memorial. The NWHM website includes a CyberMuseum with ongoing exhibits and self-guided tours of women's history sites in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.

To support the museum and its acquisition of the new site, the NWHM has organized a national coalition, currently including 30 leading national women's service, education and professional organizations. On March 2, the National Women's History Museum Coalition launched a campaign to persuade the House to act on legislation that would create the museum.

We are asking you to send the following message to your Representative: Help the National Women's History Museum Find A Home! Take Action!

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