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Mapping Our Progress Towards Cultural Equity: January-March 2021

This report card was originally published in the January-March 2021 issue of Heritage News. See the full issue here.

In recognition of Heritage’s work over the past 50 years not having been adequately or justly centered on racial and social equity, and that as a mission-driven nonprofit organization in the United States we have a responsibility to proactively address structural and institutional racism in collaboration with impacted and threatened communities, San Francisco Heritage will amend its hiring practices, programs, and operations beginning in 2021.

Beginning this issue, Heritage News will have a section dedicated to reporting on our commitments to racial and social equity. The goal is to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion within our preservation work. This Equity Report Card will provide Heritage supporters and the general public with quarterly updates.

By Kerri Young

Speaking for the staff here at Heritage, I am excited to present the first regular section that communicates ongoing progress to boost cultural equity within our historic-preservation work. Through regular progress reports, our intent is to be transparent in our efforts and build accountability. Our organization is uniquely positioned to help San Francisco’s diverse communities safeguard their heritages, and support architectural and cultural-preservation initiatives that help tell their full stories. These times require us to recognize the devastation that racism and white supremacy has inflicted in all aspects of society, including the field of historic preservation, and to refocus our work with equity at the center. If you are interested in this journey, reach out to me at Let’s get to work!

For a look at our ongoing activities, visit If you would like to offer your ideas or comments on our work, reach out to Kerri Young at

Over the past several months, we have:

  • Drafted a statement, policy, and plan for increased attention and incorporation on equity for board review and endorsement. This includes prioritizing equity across internal operations (hiring, board diversity, etc.) and external activities (communications and programs, etc.). Woody LaBounty and Kerri Young will meet with the board’s executive committee in January 2021 and formally present our plan for approval at the next full board meeting in late January 2021.
  • Began weekly staff meetings dedicated to monitoring and accelerating equity work.
  • Reserved an author-compensated “Community Voices” column in Heritage News, to spotlight diverse voices and issues from throughout San Francisco’s preservation community.
  • Continued external promotion of San Francisco’s diverse cultural assets.
  • Initiated conversations with the recently established American Indian Cultural District (AICD), to actively assist where needed on preservation programs that center on American Indian voices, histories, and experiences. This included first acknowledging Native invisibility in our own work and in the field of preservation.
  • Continued to plan proactively for Landmark Fund projects that represent marginalized groups. In November 2020, we began advocating for landmark designation for the Kong Chow funerary monument in Lincoln Park, formerly land used as a city cemetery and located in the northwest part of San Francisco’s Richmond District. The monument is a remnant of a sprawling burial ground used by San Francisco’s 19th-century Chinese community.
Equity Report Card

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