On March 25th, 2021 Historic Denver’s board and staff came together for a special session dedicated to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access. The meeting was the culmination of six months of work by a board task force convened to dive deeper into this work, its intersection with historic preservation and historical interpretation, and to make recommendations for next steps for the organization – steps that acknowledge the history of racial and social injustice in our city, and meet the demand for action demonstrated in recent protests, as well as on-going movements for change that have taken place over many decades. As a key step in this work, the Board adopted a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Value Statement, which will frame and guide our efforts moving forward.
Historic Denver, Inc. and the Molly Brown House Museum strengthen our commitment to preserving and amplifying a more inclusive history that represents all people of Denver and Colorado. As the demand for social and racial justice continues to grow, evidenced by the public protests led by concerned members of our community, we have been listening, learning, reflecting, and taking action.
Historic Denver started as a grassroots preservation organization in 1970, and over the course of fifty years has saved some of Denver’s most beloved historic buildings and places. Traditionally however, historic preservation has focused on the designation of landmarks and the field has too often perpetuated a White affluent male narrative, failing to tell inclusive stories about historic places. Preservation has caused harm to members of our community by excluding their voices and connections to places in Denver. We acknowledge that systemic racism, discrimination, and oppression persists in historic preservation.
Historic Denver commits to advance the stories and histories of all people in our community and to elevate the field of preservation and local history. We commit to greater diversity, equity, awareness, inclusivity, and access with appreciation for race, ethnicity, religion, gender, ability and identification. This includes African American, Black, Latina/o, Hispanic, Chicana/o, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, and LGBTQI+ people and women. We will be an organization that better serves and reflects our communities and advances the stories and histories of all people in our community through preservation, education and advocacy.
Follow-up steps adopted along with the Values Statement include the creation of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access Ambassadors on the board and staff to ensure that the Values Statement is being acted upon through our advocacy and programming, prioritizing diversity and representation on our board and staff, using storytelling to illuminate the diverse history in Denver, creating content that confronts issues of systemic prejudice in preservation, and challenging limited or nostalgic versions of history through engagement and accurate interpretation.