Hosted by Zócalo/Mellon Foundation Event Series


Friday, October 27, 2023, 7:00 PM PDT

How Does Confronting Our History Build a Better Future?

Moderated by William Sturkey, University of Pennsylvania Historian and Hattiesburg Author


Recent attempts to confront difficult history have exposed major divisions over memory in the United States. But scholars, social justice activists, and many others argue that grappling with the sins of the past, and the ways they reverberate into the present, is a necessary foundation for reimagining the future. Museums are finding new ways to collaborate with communities on projects that tie together historical harm and present-day problems. Cities are paying reparations to Indigenous and Black residents for past dispossession in order to address 21st-century inequality. And across the U.S., institutions are acknowledging and apologizing for past harms as a starting point to creating lasting structural change. What are the best and most creative ways societies are using history to make a better tomorrow? Can our approaches to history unite as well as divide? And how can organizers ensure that all perspectives can be represented in ways that help bring people together?

Environmental activist and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (Xochimilco), L.A. LGBT Center communications officer and former editor-in-chief of Out magazine Phillip Picardi, and “On Being” founder, executive producer, and host Krista Tippett visit Zócalo to discuss how society might draw strength and coax vision from the shortcomings and failures of its collective past. 

Zócalo invites our in-person audience to join us after the program for a reception, with complimentary food and beverages and a special guest musical performance by the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arktet.

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