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Our Commonwealth - October 2009

Our Commonwealth - October 2009

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Published by: Preservation Massachusetts on Mar 17, 2010
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Our Commonwealth
Preservation Across Massachusetts
October 2009
In This Issue
Cultural Diversity and
Save the Date! Fall Event
Upham's Corner Tour
Flick or Treat at the ElectricCarriage House
Corporate SponsorsPlatinum / $25,000
 Winn Development 
Gold / $10,000
 Boston Red Sox 
Benefactor / $5,000
 Bank of America BayNorth Capital 
Consigli Construction Co.,
Inc. First Resource Development Holland + Knight 
Keith Construction Ltd. Mira Development 
Fall Greetings!As many of us head off to the National Preservation Conference next week, I hopeeveryone is settling in for a very busy and exciting fall season. Here at PM, ourwork and efforts continued unabated right through the summer. Again, let me thankall our members for your continued support and generosity as we recently endedour fiscal year in a good place.As Anulfo Baez, writes in our lead article in this e-newsletter, cultural diversity isproving to be one of preservation's greatest challenges. Many of us are of the sameculture maintaining the same values and we continue to misunderstand the culturesand attitudes of communities we most want to support. PM is first to admit that weneed more diversity within our organization, from board representation to ouroutreach efforts. We must strive to better understand the thinking of other culturesand cannot automatically assume we all think about our heritage the same way. It just isn't so. As preservationists who want to preserve our Commonwealth's diversehistory, we must open up to the cultures that make up that shared history.In the past couple of days, Michele Barker, our Circuit Rider from WesternMassachusetts has shared with us that the home of James Weldon Johnson is onthe market in Great Barrington. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know who hewas. I have since learned that he was a distinguished and very well knownAfrican-American poet , lawyer and educator. He was a colleague of W.E.B. DuBois and extremely important to our African-American community.Michele also went on to report that St. Rachel's Church, a wonderful Stick-Stylechurch located in the center of the Old Hill neighborhood, an historic African-American neighborhood in Springfield was in need of serious repair and that findingfunding for that restoration, because of the small congregation could be difficult.Preservation has come a long way but we still have a long journey ahead. I believeyou will find Anulfo's article interesting, enlightening and most educational. Hespeaks to you from his heart with preservation passion.
Murtha Cullina LLPWessling Architects Inc.
Associates Forest City 
Lee Kennedy Co., Inc. 
Nixon Peabody LLP 
The Architectural Team 
Board of Directors
 Jack Hodgkins-ChairPamela Bailey - ClerkPhilip A. Madonia- TreasurerJames G. Alexander, FAIAPamela BaileyDaniel R. BenoitThomas F. BirminghamJean Carroon, FAIAKara CicchettiStuart GregermanFrank T. KeefeDaniel KolodnerTodd McCabeJames McDermottMichael H. RosenbergYanni TsipisRita WalshFran WeldClaudia S. Wu
James W. IgoePresidentErin D. A. KellyAssistant Director
Thank you.
¿Quién soy yo? Who am I?: CulturalDiversity and Preservation
Written by Anulfo Baez
"Who are you?" This question always stirs deepemotions within me, for finding an answer isnever easy. The context in which it is asked willresult in a different response every time. Ouridentity is shaped by the groups with which wehave become affiliated or with whom we share acommon thread. This isproblematic as group identities like race and gender rolesare socially constructed, forcing individuals who are part of a particular group totake on an identity with which they may or may not identify. The "who are you"question sheds light into the issue of diversity and the cultural nuances that areproving to be a challenge for preservation.The January/February issue of
Preservation magazinecomes to mind as it is indicative of a much larger cultural
issue that must be addressed in the field if it is to become inclusive in preservingeveryone's history.The magazine highlights the superb preservation work currently underway in OldSan Juan, Puerto Rico and showcases the Latino preservation movement in theUnited States. The message communicated through the use of the wordPreservación, however, was ambiguous and did not reflect the positive outlook thatthe story transmitted. When speaking of preservation in a Latin American context,the word that immediately invokes the ideas of the American preservationmovement is conservación. The Puerto Rico State Historic Preservation Officetranslated into Spanish would read "Oficina Estatal de Conservación Histórica(OECH)." The choice of words as a native Spanish speaker do not convey a desireto be more inclusive in preservation, but instead it assumed that those who speakSpanish and English will understand the message behind it. The wordConservación would have taught readers a profound lesson in language andculture, a message that could have broken language barriers.Cultural diversity is proving to be preservation's greatest challenge. Thepreservation field must acknowledge that within the Spanish-speaking communitythere are a countless of differences in language and cultures.Historically, preservation has done an outstanding job of preserving those placesthat matter to people with economic power. Its successes have been driven bythose who possess a higher education and are politically savvy, calling attention toa particular resource and garnering the support from the community to savehistorically significant places from demolition. Unfortunately, not everyone is thisprivileged. The successes of preservation have also exposed its failures, in thatmarginalized people who live in the periphery of major urban centers or in citieswhere industry once employed hundreds of immigrants have now becomedilapidated battlegrounds for preservationists.Have we preservationists done enough in asking what is it that really matters to
Anulfo G. BaezOffice ManagerElsa FitzgeraldSpecial Projects Manager
 Courtney Whelan
Circuit Riders
 In Parnership withthe National Trust forHistoric PreservationMichele P. BarkerDorr FoxSteve Moga
Support PreservationMassachusetts!
 Preservation Massachusettsis entirely supported by ourCorporate and IndividualMembers and Foundations.Find out about Corporatebenefits, events, programsand take an active role inpreserving our
Commonwealth. Join or renew yourmembership today! www.preservationmass.org 
Mark your calendars and joinus on
May 5th, 2010 for the23rd Annual Awards Dinner 
 at the Fairmont Copley PlazaHotel!
More details to follow in thecoming months
these communities? Have we inquired about their identity and listened carefully asto what the answers may be? I believe that the first step in working withmarginalized communities in this country is to create an enriching dialogue in whichquestions of cultural identity are explored. My hope is that the responses willfacilitate in breaking the boundaries and closing the preservation gap that has manycommunities in a state of deterioration.In Boston, small non-profit organizations like Discover Roxbury and others areworking diligently to break the boundaries, and in the process empoweringcommunity members and visitors to take pride in their neighborhood. Having livedin and explored culturally diverse neighborhoods in Boston including Roxbury, Iwitnessed ona daily basis the challenges that the preservation community faces.Investing in education and engaging in dialogues involving identity and history iskey to halting the further decay ofurban neighborhoods.After a college semester studying abroad inValparaiso, Chile, a UNESCO World
Heritage Site, I journeyed along with my sister to the Dominican Republic in search
of the beauty and history I left behind as a child. Wandering among the statelycolonial churches and palaces ofOld Santo Domingo, I realized why many of us
Latinos living in the United States feel emotionally disconnected with thearchitecture and surroundings. I sensed the pride and ownership people have in thehistory that is associated with these architectural treasures. We, aspreservationists, must work towards emotionally reconnecting the LatinoCommunity with the architectural resources that surround them, which also reflecttheir history in the United States.Who am I? The question still remains a difficult one, but I am a Dominican who wasborn in the Dominican Republic, raised in Boston with American citizenship. I alsoconsider myself an American, not because of my citizenship, but because I waspartially raised here and have developed a love for this country and its architecturalhistory. Who am I in the Dominican Republic? I am a Banilejo (from the province ofBani), but also a Boca Canastero, from the town of Boca Canasta. I identify myselfas Latino when referring to the political power that we as a community possess inthis country. A power that is gradually being acknowledged by society and thoseworking in historic preservation.
 Anulfo Baez is Office Manager for Preservation Massachusetts. To contribute to thediscussion of cultural diversity and preservation he can be reached at abaez@preservationmass.org or post your comments directly to hisblog .
Save the Date! Fall Preservation Event
 October 28, 2009 5:00 PM Registration Nixon Peabody, LLP 100 Summer Street Join us on Wednesday October 28, 2009 as we formallyannounce the 2009 Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources at Nixon Peabody LLP, 100Summer Street. The announcement will be followed by a Guest Speaker and networking cocktail
reception! Join PM and your fellow preservation partners for a great evening! Registration starts at 5:30PM and a $10 contribution is suggested. To RSVP please email Anulfo Baez
atabaez@preservationmass.orgor call 617-723-3383. 

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