CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.Res. 361 is being considered under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on April 23, 2009.
H.Res. 361 would resolve that the House of Representatives:
• "Recognizes the extraordinary historical, cultural, and recreational significance of Historic Virginia Key Beach Park of Miami, Florida;
• "Recommits its attempt to protect and preserve American history through national parks and historic sites;
• "Acknowledges the significance of the African-American community's struggle for equality through its collaborative efforts to preserve this historic site; and
• "Affirms its desire and commitment to support and fund the operations of Historic Virginia Key Beach Park and the historical museum soon to be constructed through an endowment."
According to the resolution's findings, in the early 1900s, Historic Virginia Key Beach Park of Miami, Florida, was frequented by African-American and Caribbean settlers arriving by ferry from mainland South Florida. The late M. Athalie Range, an African-American community leader and the first woman to sit on the City of Miami Commission, worked with the community to save Virginia Key Beach Park from development and deliver it back to the people. She lobbied to place the property on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, spearheaded funding for a multi-billion dollar restoration program, and planned a new museum/cultural center that would one day, impart the message of social equality and responsible citizenry for future generations.