Update, April 17, 2019: As of Wednesday, April 17, 2019, at 3 pm the Senate NEH Dear Colleague Letter was finalized and included a record number of signers at 44.
Earlier this month, nearly 200 humanities advocates gathered in Washington, D.C. to make the case for federally-funded humanities programs on Capitol Hill.
Throughout the course of the day, advocates from 41 states took a record-breaking 287 meetings. As advocates met with their congressional delegations, they had two very specific asks: that their Members of Congress sign on to a Dear Colleague Letter requesting $167.5 million (a $12.5 million increase) for the NEH and a Dear Colleague Letter requesting $106 million (a $44 million increase) for Title VI/Fulbright-Hays.
We are pleased to report that this advocacy worked! We now have a record number of signers on both the House NEH and the House Title VI/Fulbright-Hays Dear Colleague Letters. As of this writing, the House NEH Dear Colleague Letter has 175 signers, including 11 Republicans. The House Title VI/Fulbright-Hays Dear Colleague Letter has 106 signers, including 7 Republicans—this is both a record number of signers and a record number of Republican signers. The Senate NEH Dear Colleague Letter also received a record number of signers at 44. The Senate Title VI Dear Colleague Letter is still being finalized.
Humanities Advocacy Day was also an opportunity to thank some of our most stalwart supporters. This year, we awarded the Sidney R. Yates Award for Distinguished Public Service to the Humanities to Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for their continued leadership and support of the humanities. Rep. McCollum, chair of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, has been a steadfast and eloquent ally for the NEH, stating that the NEH supports “vibrant cultural and educational opportunities for people of all ages that bind us together as one Nation and one people.” Sen. Murkowski, chair of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, has been a committed supporter of both the NEH and the Alaska Humanities Forum and the role they play in preserving Native cultural heritage and supporting veterans.
Thank you to all of our advocates who made Humanities Advocacy Day such a success! We look forward to seeing you again next year!
Thumbnail image: Nebraska advocates meeting with a staffer from Sen. Sasse's office. Photo courtesy of Morrison Photography.
Texas advocates meeting with a staffer from Rep. Escobar's office. Photo courtesy of Morrison Photography.
Minnesota advocates with Rep. McCollum after the presentation of the Yates Award. Photo courtesy of Morrison Photography.
John Stavley, Jim Grossman, and Steve Kidd present Sen. Murkowski with the Yates Award. Photo courtesy of Morrison Photography.