The latest issue of Forum Journal captures the proceedings from PastForward Online 2020, the historic preservation movement’s first-ever all-virtual national conference which drew more than 4,000 registrants.
Like the national conference, Forum Journal opens with introductory remarks by President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Paul Edmondson. Paul’s remarks are followed with insightful keynotes by national thought leaders like Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, and Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, who both serve on the National Advisory Council for the Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Walker and Ifill are followed by Governor Brian Vallo of the Pueblo of the Acoma, which is a National Trust Historic Site, and finally by actor and activist George Takei, who is a founder of the Japanese American National Museum and author of the graphic novel, They Called Us Enemy, a 2020 American Book Award winner.
Each of our plenary speakers expound on the conference theme of Resilience and Relevance through the lens of preservation as social justice, on the importance of telling the full American story, and about how histories of marginalized communities can best be represented in preservation practice. The speakers address painful pasts and the importance of not only preserving physical evidence of these truths, but that people, community, and social structures also need to be preserved. All of the speakers share how preservation can be a tool for positive change moving forward.
Importantly, the Journal then celebrates the “landmark” professional career of 2020 Crowninshield award-winner Mary Means who reflects on her four decades of dedicated work to revitalize Main Street communities across the country and who describes her take on the beneficial economic and social impacts of the Main Street initiative.
Finally, this issue of Forum Journal also presents a summary of “takeaways” from the three highly interactive Town Hall sessions which sought to gather shared values for preservation practice and challenged all participants to think of new ways that historic preservation can be more effective in the future for three critical areas: equity, resilience, and relevance.
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The Preservation Leadership Forum of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is a network of preservation leaders — professionals, students, volunteers, activists, experts — who share the latest ideas, information, and advice, and have access to in-depth preservation resources and training.
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