As we expand notions of American narratives, it is important to honor places and cultural traditions that give voice to diverse communities and sustain their cultural traditions. Asian Pacific Islander Americans have lastingly influenced our country, its history, its streetscapes and landscapes. Like other heritage resources, sites relevant to Asian Pacific American history are threatened by demolition, abandonment, lack of public awareness, and community change; frequently the passage of time separates buildings and heritage resources associated with Asian Pacific American history from their communities.
For several years a coalition of advocates and organizations has been strategizing to protect pan-Asian history, heritage, and cultural traditions in America. This energy will culminate in a symposium to be held in San Francisco's historic Japantown, June 24-26, 2010. Preserving Asian Pacific Islander America: Mobilizing Our Communities will build capacity, foster collaboration, promote awareness, and encourage peer dialogue. Reconnecting “sites of cultural memory” and the stories they hold to their communities and connecting the present stewards of these sometimes isolated cultural resources offer exciting opportunities for coalition-building and cultural participation.
Engaging new audiences, involving young people, expanding understanding of historic preservation, and ensuring a continued place for diverse groups at preservation’s table are all stated goals for the forum. A key focus will be development of a pan-Asian preservation agenda to reflect the common needs, aspirations, and priorities of attendees and their communities in order to carry forward the energy of this momentous inaugural gathering.
We invite interested community members, advocates, and preservationists to attend and share details of strategies, goals, successes, and challenges in their stewardship of Asian Pacific American cultural resources.
For information on the forum see: http://www.apinhpforum.org/index.htm