Every February, the United States celebrates Black History Month as a time to highlight activities happening now and year round as we journey towards social justice and equitable inclusion for Black Americans and people of color.
Cultural heritage and preservation organizations–including ICOMOS, ICOMOS-USA, and World Heritage USA–are striving for positive change. Let’s not let “heritage” become a shameful and disused word. Let’s employ heritage to shine a light on the truth of the past and to help create a better future. Let’s espouse the ideals of World Heritage and the World Heritage Convention to recognize the cultural and material heritage of peoples the world over as irreplaceable sources of inspiration. We recognize past omissions and are working to create a more positive and equitable commemorative landscape for World Heritage and for the United States.
Our recent and current efforts include:
Monument Relocation, Removal, and Reinterpretation Toolkit (“Monuments Toolkit”), produced with grant assistance from the Mellon Foundation
- an initiative to produce case studies, an interactive app, and a guide for communities varied approaches to addressing controversial monuments in their midst.
- in addition to the app and the Toolkit team has also produced a podcast, a series of webinars, and hosted Monuments Summer 2023 events in Charleston, SC, and San Diego, CA.
- Partnering with the National Park Service Network to Freedom, we have undertaken efforts to document international sites of self liberation. Learn more on our website.
Assistance with the U.S. Civil Rights Movement Sites World Heritage Nomination
- In the years-long effort to create a serial World Heritage serial nomination comprised of civil rights movement sites in the United States, ICOMOS-USA members and experts have provided guidance on site analysis, selection and dossier preparation. Read our June 2023 letter to the National Park Service Office of International Affairs here.
Increasing Diversity on our Board of Trustees and Staff
- With five African American trustees and a highly diverse Monuments Toolkit staff, we have greatly increased representation within our organization, on our board, and at the international level with the election of trustee Monica Rhodes to the ICOMOS Board of Directors.
Partnering with Organizations to Recognize Black Contributions to American and World History
- We continue to seek out and partner with organizations working for social justice and equity in the United States, including but not limited to African American-focused organizations such as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the NPS Network to Freedom, and the Georgia State University World Heritage Initiative.
Advancing the Careers of Diverse Emerging Professionals via the International Exchange Program (IEP)
- Every year, our IEP emerging professionals (EPs) grow more diverse and accomplished. We’re proud of our decades-long commitment to bringing EPs from around the world to gain meaningful work experience in the United States and sending U.S. EPs abroad to see who heritage conservation is accomplished in other countries.
Thank you for participating with us in these crucial endeavors and for your continued support.