Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said on Tuesday at an event focused on Hispanic-American Entrepreneurship that the national monuments in the nation’s capital need to be more diverse. “If you drive around Washington, D.C., in every circle and every square you generally see a bronze white guy – sometimes on a horse, sometimes not - you have to work really hard – like in front of the Indian embassy you’ll find Mahatma Gandhi,” Jewell said. “A handful of women – maybe – if you look really hard – sprinkled around the city, but there are very few places and memorials that tell the story of the rich diversity that has made this country great,” Jewell said. The panel discussion Jewell took part in was entitled “Strong Communities: Empowering the Growing Hispanic Population,” described as “an open dialogue between federal principals and invited guests to explore policies instituted under the Obama administration that have helped advance the Hispanic community and create a steady path forward.”
Jewell spoke about the role of the Interior Department and the Obama administration’s efforts to make public lands under the department’s jurisdiction more diverse. “The other thing that President Obama recognizes and began to manifest itself with Ken Salazar’s leadership as secretary of Interior and as continuing throughout the Obama administration, is that we are, through the National Park Service, largely America’s storyteller. “And yet if you drive around Washington, D.C., in every circle and every square, you generally see a bronze white guy – sometimes on a horse, sometimes not – you have to work really hard – like in front of the Indian embassy you’ll find Mahatma Gandhi,” Jewell said. “There’s a handful of women – maybe – if you look really hard – sprinkled around the city,” Jewell said. “But there are very few places and memorials that tell the story of the rich diversity that has made this country great, and that is something that we have been working very diligently to do.”
On Friday, Obama designated the Stonewall Inn in New York City a national monument. The inn was a homosexual bar where riots took place in 1969 after a police raid. The announcement of the designation was made to coincide with the gay pride parade in the city on Saturday that included a video played on billboards in Times Square that featured Obama and footage from the riot, including one image featuring a sign that read “Homo is healthy.” Obama said the bar is the “newest addition to America’s national park system.” -- “Stonewall will be the first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights,” Obama said. "I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country: the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us," Obama said. "That we are stronger together, that out of many, we are one."