2012 National Historic Preservation Forum

June 27-30 | Los Angeles, CA

The second biennial National APIA Historic Preservation Forum was held on June 21-23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. It began with affinity group meetings and an Opening Reception in Chinatown. Affinity group meetings for Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and Thai attendees were held at the California Endowment on Thursday afternoon. Bill Watanabe, chair of the APIAHiP Steering Committee, welcomed attendees to the Forum’s Opening Reception. Ron Fong, API Small Business Program director, introduced the reception host committee, which was comprised of the five Asian Pacific Islander Preserve American Neighborhoods (API PAN) (Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, and Thai Town). Cultural performances by community groups from each host neighborhood followed. Keynote speaker, Lisa See, best-selling author of “Dreams of Joy”, as well as the New York Times bestselling novels“Snow Flower and the Secret Fan”, “Peony in Love”, and “Shanghai Girls”, as well as the memoir, “On Gold Mountain”, which is about her Chinese-American family.

 

Forum events on Friday were held at the California Endowment in Chinatown. The day started with a continental breakfast and welcome by Bill Watanabe (Little Tokyo Service Center) and Dr. Anthea Hartig (California Historical Society). The Opening Plenary included Dr. Estevan Rael-Galvez (National Trust for Historic Preservation) and M. Rosalind Sagara (Save Riverside’s Chinatown Committee). The Opening Plenary included an overview of how the Forum began as a gathering of individuals interested in supporting preservation efforts in APIA communities and how it has evolved as a network, and how community and preservation advocates are claiming a diverse voice in places across the nation. Following the Opening Plenary, educational sessions were held with topics ranging from preservation and artists, youth-inspired preservation, preservation efforts “beyond” the West Coast, and building partnerships. During the luncheon, Dr. Konrad Ng (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program) provided a keynote speech on the importance of Asian and Pacific Islander stories in American history. Following Dr. Ng’s keynote speech, a general session was held with pop-up speakers, which highlighted successes and challenges in preserving sites in APIA community, including appeals for support for threatened sites. Afternoon educational sessions followed with topics on sacred sites; farming, fisheries, and canneries, the “diversity gap” with national preservation programs, and technology tools. On Friday evening, a dinner reception hosted by the Guam Preservation Trust was held at the Omni Hotel in Bunker Hill and included special guest Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo (D - Guam).

 

Saturday morning events were held in the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. Morning educational sessions included topics on film and historic preservation and introductory “how-to” historic preservation workshops. The Forum concluded with a keynote speech by Congresswoman Judy Chu, a dance performance by the Purple Moon Project, and closing remarks from National CAPACD’s Executive Director Lisa Hasegawa and Little Manila Foundation Founding Board Chair Dr. Dawn Mabalon. Artistic Director, Jill Togawa, and Purple Moon Dance Project presented “When Dreams are Interrupted”, a stunning performance uncovering the profound imprint left on a neighborhood by the forced removal and mass evacuation of Japanese American communities in 1942.

 

Tours of Asian American neighborhoods were held on Saturday afternoon, including a community tour and jeepney ride around Historic Filipinotown, a food tour in Thai Town, and walking tours in Chinatown and Little Tokyo.