On Martin Luther King Day, 2021: A Path Forward

As we honor the life and achievements of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., on this third Monday of January, 2021, we look back on a turbulent year filled with misfortune that will nonetheless result in positive change. Despite the terrible events that brought us to this point and the uncertainty that now surrounds us, we strongly believe that allied social justice movements across the United States, the world, and in the arena of heritage, have gathered a momentum that will not be stopped and can only grow in influence. 


At US/ICOMOS, we are fully committed to furthering social justice initiatives that will enable and encourage broader and more equitable participation in modern life, and, our arena of influence, heritage conservation. Just as our 2020 International Conference and Symposium had as its theme “U.S. World Heritage and Social Justice in the 21st Century,” we will continue devoting programming and other initiatives to social justice themes in 2021 and beyond.

Over the next several months, we will share video recordings of the Symposium proceedings via our newsletter and social media feeds. We begin with these two videos, the Plenary sessions from each day of the 2020 Symposium, because we find them inspiring and believe that you will as well:

Day One: Social Justice, Civil Rights & Slavery Plenary Session (pictured above): Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and Robert Stanton, former NPS Director and former ACHP Expert Member (2014-2020), discuss promoting social justice in cultural heritage, the National Parks and society as a whole.

Day Two: Social Justice and Indigenous Peoples Plenary Session:  Dorothy FireCloud, NPS Native American Affairs Liaison, on “Welcoming Indigenous Peoples to their National Park Sites.”

We hope that, with us, you will work to create a better future for us all, one that strives to inspire and recognize the common dignity of all people, as the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., did in his life’s work.

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