Today, Hispanic Access Foundation Founder, President and CEO Maite Arce was appointed as a Founding Board Member for the Bureau of Land Management’s Foundation for America’s Public Lands. The announcement was made today during a virtual event featuring remarks by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and department leaders. The Foundation’s goal will be to conserve, protect and restore lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management for the benefit of the American people.
“Latinos have been an integral part of this country’s shared history,” said Arce. “However, our communities’ access to public lands, the equal representation of their cultural heritage, and their workforce contributions are not always acknowledged or represented. All communities should know about BLM’s role in protecting their public lands; just as all people should have equitable access and the ability to reach them.”
America’s public lands are a key component of Latino communities identity, and they weave a narrative of the diverse and complex history of this nation. These places, all of which are Indigenous ancestral lands, preserve our shared cultural heritage, provide places to recreate and connect with nature, spend time with family and our communities, and significantly contribute to industries, local economies, and employment opportunities.
“It is a privilege and honor to manage America’s public lands for the benefit of current and future generations. To do that right, we need a Bureau of Land Management ready for the future, not just with the right personnel, structure and resources but also with a support system of outside partners collaborating on its success,” said Secretary Haaland. “I’m proud to appoint visionary leaders who will take on the enormous task of building the Foundation from the ground up to create this legacy and ensuring that its work is closely aligned with the agency’s mission and priorities.”
As a founding board member, Arce will focus on establishing equitable access to our nation’s public lands for all communities. Arce is one of four founding board members, along with Governor Steve Bullock, Neil Kornze and Stacy Leeds, who were chosen by the Department of Interior for their extensive experience and leadership in protecting America’s public lands.
“My deepest gratitude to Secretary Haaland and Director Stone-Manning for entrusting me to serve as one of the founding board members of the Foundation for America’s Public Lands,” said Arce. “As a founder of a national nonprofit with more than 20 years of nonprofit leadership and as a Latina, I am excited to bring the perspective of my own lived experiences, culture and heritage to the board.”