After a day of incredible diversity and inclusion conversations (which will continue long after the conference is over), PastForward 2017 officially kicked off last night with the Opening Plenary at the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University here in Chicago. Over the course of an hour, we heard from a variety of speakers—all of whom emphasized the critical theme from the past year: action.
As Stephanie Meeks said in her remarks:
I’m proud to say that, in 2017, we have hit the ground running. This has been a year of action. All over the country, your efforts have given preservation new energy and purpose… People saving places for people.
That’s it in a nutshell. That’s why we put in the long hours, hold the meetings, go the extra mile. And it’s having an impact. Your hard work is demonstrating all the ways that preservation can solve problems for today’s communities and enrich lives. By providing affordable homes and economic opportunities. By spurring investment and job creation. By promoting diversity, inclusion, and a much-needed dialogue with our history. By filling our days with awe and beauty. And by bringing people together.
I walked away from the plenary excited about the critical actions and programs that the National Trust for Historic Preservation is advancing.
Number one: the federal historic tax credit (HTC). We are at a critical moment for the #HistoricTaxCredit. Last week the House tax reform bill moved out of committee with the HTC completely eliminated, while the Senate bill would reduce it from 20 to 10 percent. As we all know, the HTC has been instrumental to our preservation work in communities and cities across the country not only as an economic driver but also as a means to protect the places that matter to us. You can act now to save the HTC by contacting your members of Congress (for the latest on protecting the Historic Tax Credit, visit the Advocacy Resource Center).
We also took a moment of silence for the victims of the various natural disasters that have recently hit our country. With Puerto Rico still reeling from Hurricane Maria—during which thousands of buildings, historic and new, lost their roofs—the community there finds itself in a dire situation. Every fresh rain further damages these places, delaying people’s return to their homes, businesses, and normal routines. The National Trust has partnered with Para La Naturaleza (Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico) to raise money for the island. Find out how you can help.
And if you want to learn more about disaster relief, make sure to attend the new Learning Lab at 9 a.m. today in the Red Lacquer room at the Palmer House Hilton.
Also yesterday the National Trust announced the African American Heritage Cultural Action Fund. Learn more from one of our early supporters: Phylicia Rashad.
Miss the announcement of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards winners? Watch the videos to learn about the full slate of awardees.
Not able to attend PastForward in person? Learn more about being a virtual attendee! And continue the conversation on Forum Connect.
Coming Up Today
Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. today. Full details are available in the program and on the app, which you can download through your mobile app store. Field Sessions leave from the Wabash Street entrance of the Palmer House. Check out the Preservation Studio, which is located right near Registration on the 4th floor (follow the signs) and opens at 9:30 a.m.
Today also includes a full slate of Learning Labs and two TrustLive presentations: the Future City Summit, 10:30–11:30 a.m., and Technology, 4:45–5:45 p.m., both in the Grand Ballroom. These plenary talks will be led by dynamic speakers—including keynotes Bryan Lee and Zenka, respectively—and will ask attendees to consider what assets they already have and to look at technology in a new and different way. These talks will be live streamed.
If you are participating in the PastForward Challenge (Gamification) for points and prizes, please enter the following passcode for the "Read the Wednesday Recap" challenge: WEDCAP.
Here to Help! Glimpses from our Instagram Story