By Sarah Zenaida Gould and Moira Nadal
Latinos in Heritage Conservation (LHC) was founded in 2014 by Laura Dominguez, Desiree Smith, and Sarah Zenaida Gould as a network of Latinx people engaged in historic preservation. LHC has since grown by leaps and bounds into a national organization of professionals, educators, and advocates dedicated to promoting historic preservation in Latinx communities throughout the United States, elevating Latinx historic places and stories as part of a more inclusive American narrative, and sustaining the living cultural heritage of the country’s diverse Latinx communities. LHC’s work has attracted the attention of hundreds of followers including the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, which recently awarded us a capacity-building grant. You may have encountered LHC at PastForward, where we’ve participated in panels for the last four years; at any number of other preservation conferences where we’ve presented; or at one of our own events.
At our inaugural national gathering in Tucson, Arizona, in 2015, we established our organizational mission, vision, and goals. And in 2016 we initiated our biennial conference in Houston. This April 26–28, in Providence, Rhode Island, we will hold our third national gathering, Encuentro 2018, in partnership with Rhode Island Latino Arts and the Rhode Island Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission. This will mark our New England debut, an important step in recognizing the many diverse Latinx communities across the United States. The conference will also be a landmark gathering of preservationists, scholars, students, and community advocates interested in discussing the value and future of heritage conservation in New England’s Latinx communities and beyond.
Speakers at Encuentro 2018 will include Stephen Pitti and Belinda Faustinos, members of the National Park Service Latino Scholars Expert Panel—and formerly the only two Latinx people serving on the National Park Service Advisory Board (both resigned in January); Dr. Eduardo Diaz, the director of the Smithsonian’s Latino Center; and Dr. Ray Rast, longtime critic of the integrity criteria who helped create the Cesar A. Chavez National Monument and also served on the National Park Service Latino Scholars Expert Panel.
Conference panels will focus on the preservation of street murals, incorporating Latinx preservation issues into the classroom, and emerging professionals. With the help of our Encuentro 2018 partners, tours of Latinx-related historic sites—as well as other historic sites—will be offered on Saturday, April 28. You won’t want to miss this event, and we hope to see you there!
More About LHC
LHC is more than just an advocacy network: we are an agent of social change. We envision a nation that values Latinx history and embraces it as a part of the greater American story. Recognizing that historic preservation is not neutral—and that, historically, communities of color, working class communities, LGBTQ communities, and others have largely been left out of preservation—we are pushing beyond diversity and inclusion toward equity and social justice. Our ultimate goal is preservation justice: the recognition of Latinx contributions to the cultural and historical fabric of the United States, an increase in recognized and designated Latinx historic sites, an increase in Latinx people working in historic preservation, and a shift from entrenched and exclusionary historic preservation practices. We recognize that, to understand social justice in this moment, we must acknowledge its past. Place-based struggles for social change and equity have historically been challenged, so we know that our work will not be easy—but we are supported by a powerful team.
LHC is proud to be a multigenerational, all-volunteer organization with 15 executive committee members from across the country, including Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington state. We believe in the power of our stories, our culture, and our historic places—and in their capacity to build more just and vibrant communities. We seek opportunities to connect our preservation work with related campaigns for social justice and to serve as allies to other communities underrepresented in preservation. If you’re interested in these efforts, we invite you to join us!
In the coming months, we will roll out some exciting updates and partnership announcements. Please follow us online and subscribe to our social media channels to stay up to date!
And don't forget: Register today for Encuentro 2018
!Sarah Zenaida Gould is the cofounder and cochair of Latinos in Heritage Conservation. Moira Nadal is a member of the executive committee of Latinos in Heritage Conservation as well as the manager of easements at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.