Thank you for joining us for A Community Conversation: The Power of Public Monuments and Why They Matter.

500 people packed Converse Hall in Tremont Temple on Wednesday, January 9 for the event, hosted by National Park Service, City of Boston, Friends of the Public Garden, and Museum of African American History – Boston and Nantucket. A musical prelude by Project STEP began as attendees began to file in. The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, HQs and Company A marched to signal the start of the event.

Chris Cook, Chief of Environment, Energy, & Open Space, City of Boston, spoke about the importance of access to public spaces like monuments and parks. Liz Vizza, Executive Director of Friends of the Public Garden, outlined the Shaw 54th Memorial restoration project and partnership. Marita Rivero, President & CEO of Museum of African American History, shared the history and significance of the Shaw 54th Regiment.

Emcee Karen Holmes Ward of WCVB -TV Channel 5 welcomed the moderator, Derrick Z. Jackson, and introduced the panelists: civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson, American public art historian & Professor Emerita, University of Maryland Renée Ater, and President & CEO of Atlanta History Center F. Sheffield Hale.

The panel participated in a dynamic and thought-provoking discussion, accompanied by a Q&A led by Karen Holmes Ward. After the event, attendees enjoyed a dessert reception with treats from Soleil Restaurant & Catering.

To learn more about the Shaw 54th Memorial Restoration, visit the project website.