“We understand L.A. in the present as a multicultural city, but the dominant narrative of L.A. history is still a blank slate, as a city with no history. And I think the violence of that as a settler-colonial narrative, as a white settler-colonial narrative—one that erases Mexican and Indigenous histories, spaces, and communities—still has yet to be really dealt with in any kind of mainstream way.”– Wendy Cheng, Whiteness and Civic Memory in Los Angeles Roundtable (with Natalia Molina, Eric Ávila, Jessica Kim, Brenda E. Stevenson, and David Torres-Rouff)
Over the past year and a half, I worked with an impressive group of people who constituted the City of LA’s Civic Memory Working Group. Today, the mayor’s office released the report and website to the public. Hopefully this will be a first step toward a more community-engaged, accountable, substantive, and perhaps even joyous municipal approach to civic memory. Check out the full website, or download the report here.