San Francisco Heritage is committed to boosting diversity, equity, access, and inclusion (DEAI) across all of our work. We are tailoring activities and programs to meet this responsibility, and developing a framework to measure success and accountability.
For a look at ongoing activities, visit SFheritage.org/equity. SF Heritage 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. SF Heritage is grateful to the partners who have helped re-center work around equity and acknowledges the focus and diligence required to achieve meaningful change.
This equity report card helps monitor our progress. Below are some highlights of actions taken in the recent past:
- The Heritage in the Neighborhoods-Bayview program launched on Feb. 23 at Gallery 1506, paired with a commemoration of Black History Month. The African American Arts & Culture District was represented by executive director Ericka Scott, who filled the gallery with artworks from Honey Art Studio and allied artists. (Feb. 2023)
- Our free, SF Conversations for February focused on “Celebrating Black History Month & Heritage in the Neighborhoods: Bayview.” This free, public webinar featured Ericka Scott (Executive Director of the African American Arts & Cultural District), and Dale Cruse, a photographer who lives in Bayview and documents the historic buildings, sites, and murals in the area. A recording of the free public webinar is available to watch on our YouTube.
- Castro Theatre in the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District. Karalyn Monteil (CEO & President), Christine Madrid French (Director of Advocacy), and Karen Kai (SF Heritage Board Member and resident of the Castro), provided comment and support at the Historic Preservation Commission review of the Landmark Amendment on Feb. 1. The HPC Committee recommended the amendment, recognizing that the Castro Theatre was significant “for its association with Eureka Valley commercial development, the film entertainment industry, and San Francisco LGBTQ history; as well as for its architectural merit.” Public comment for the meeting ran for more than 6 hours, with over 100 people expressing their opinions on the matter. (Feb. 2023)
- SF Heritage was a media sponsor for the “Lunar New Year Celebration,” held on Jan. 29 in cooperation with the Sunset Chinese Cultural District and Sunset Mercantile. (Jan. 2023)
- Castro Theatre Town Hall event. Christine Madrid French, SF Heritage Director of Advocacy, participated in a community town hall on with advocates from the Castro Theatre Coalition, including historian Gerard Koskovich and Stephen Torres (Executive Co-Chair of the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District). More than 100 members of the public attended the event in the Castro on Jan. 26. (Jan. 2023)
- We held an intergenerational panel of American Indian leaders, in conjunction with the American Indian Cultural District, in celebration of American Indian Heritage Month in November. The panel discussed establishing a cultural center on Alcatraz, and building alliances within the Ramaytush Ohlone community. Panelists included Dr. LaNada War Jack, a Shoshone Bannock elder, author, and activist, Gregg Castro from the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone, and Paloma Flores, the Director of Community Development & Partnerships at the AICD. Sharaya Souza, SF Heritage Board member and Executive Director of the AICD, moderated the evening conversation. (November 2022)
- SF Heritage testified in support of St. James Presbyterian Church (240 Leland Avenue) as a city landmark, which is meaningful its representation of Visitacion Valley’s long-established Filipino community. Landmarking St. James was the first preservation project of Heritage in the Neighborhoods: Visitacion Valley, and became the neighborhood’s first city landmark. (Fall 2022)
- We supported the community celebration for Juana Alicia’s 1985 mural Para Las Rosas/For the Roses, located on the facade of the San Francisco Mime Troupe Building (855 Treat Avenue in the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District). (Fall 2022)
- Recruitment of three highly qualified candidates with Argentinian, Mexican/Indigenous, and Japanese/African American heritage have helped make SF Heritage staff more representative of the diversity of San Francisco (Fall 2022)
- SF Heritage Artist-in-Residence was award-winning African American poet and activist Tongo Eisen Martin, author of “Heaven is all Goodbyes,” and “Blood on the Fog.” (Sept./Oct. 2022)
- We have made a concerted effort to increase the visibility of our land acknowledgement: it features prominently on our new website, and was added onto the masthead of our newsletter starting in July 2022. All staff reference it in our email signature lines, and we have included it as a regular part of our introductions at online and in-person meetings. With the guidance of our newest board member, Sharaya Souza, Executive Director of the American Indian Cultural District, we are looking at more ways to make our land acknowledgement more relevant, and are reviewing the wording to strengthen its impact.
- We continued to advocate for the landmarking of Lincoln Park as a city landmark, which is meaningful in its representation of the immigrant communities who helped build the city of San Francisco.
- We recognize the need for more consistency in our reference to preferred pronouns. All staff have added them to our email signatures and online profiles; however, we do not always include them on our website and in social media posts or newsletter articles. We are more likely to include them for “non-traditional” pronouns but do not regularly refer to them for cisgender pronouns. We are therefore making an effort to pay more attention to this in future communications, including job postings, in order to demonstrate our commitment to a more inclusive environment for all.
- SFH staff continue to look for ways to increase our knowledge and capacities to put our DEAI commitment into action. Two of our staff, Moira Dowell and Ashley Wright, attended the 2022 Corporate Philanthropy Awards Summit on July 28, which emphasized that in forming partnerships and allocating grant funds, funders will be looking not just at mission and service delivery for evidence of inclusion and equity commitments, but also at representation within nonprofit boards and staff (to reflect and engage the communities served). Lessons learned from this experience will inform our collective efforts going forward.
- Our efforts to develop an internship program for SF Heritage have included contacting a broad-range of academic institutions, including community colleges and the New Door Ventures, in order to reach diverse candidates. We also obtained funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to cover transportation and meals for our interns. We realize the importance of offering paid internships as part of our DEAI commitment; therefore, we are focusing on university partnerships for academic internships so that the students receive academic credit for their internships, and will partner with New Door Ventures which provides paid internships for high school interns. Moreover, we will develop a proposal for our internship program to attract corporate sponsorship, which would empower us to offer paid internships in the future.
- We continue to engage artists of diverse backgrounds for our activities at the Doolan-Larson Building, including partnering with Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts on Hispanic Heritage Month at 1506 Haight Street and recruiting SF Poet Laureate Tongo-Eisen Martin and Dr. LaNada Warjack as our September-November artists-in-residence. Our partnerships with San Francisco’s cultural districts also help us make progress toward our commitment.
- Recognizing the opportunity to demonstrate our DEAI commitment through our recruitment activity, we have done our best to ensure job postings are included on a broad range of employment platforms and offering easy access. We have included inclusive language is used in job descriptions, and made an effort to provide salary transparency in line with best practices.
- Our House & Rentals Manager, Heather Kraft, added one BIPOC woman-owned caterer to the preferred vendors list. She also made contact with two female-owned bartending services, Manhattan Zodiac (LGBTQ owned and operated) and Bartending Babes.