BOSTON — Tuesday, January 11, 2021— Yesterday, Mayor Wu signed An Ordinance to Create a Commemoration Commission, which was sponsored by Councilor Bok and passed unanimously by the City Council last year. This ordinance will establish the Boston Commemoration Commission, which is tasked with developing and executing a plan to mark upcoming historical anniversaries, including but not limited to the United States Sestercentennial (250th) in 2026 and the 400th anniversary of the founding of the City of Boston in 2030, while investing in inclusive and robust historical resources and preservation tools.
“Boston’s rich history is an important part of our cultural identity and economy, and our celebrations of this heritage should connect all of our city’s neighborhoods,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “To move forward with positive change as a City, we have to remember where we came from. Thank you to Councilor Bok for helping create this commission.”
”Boston should embrace our identity as a historic city in a way that honors landmark sites and dates in all our communities, bringing local history to life through neighborhood trails, branch library exhibits, and Boston Public Schools classrooms,” said Councilor Bok, who holds a Ph.D. in history. “As a historian myself, I know that you don’t get inclusive and innovative commemoration events and programs by accident—they require everyone’s voice at the table. This Commission will create that table at the city level, and I’m so grateful to all the partners who are coming together around this initiative.”
The legislative process to create the Commission has already launched a partnership between city departments, cultural and business leaders, community advocates, preservationists, archivists, federal and state entities, and representatives of diverse historical communities. Members of the Boston Commemoration Commission will work together to make upcoming celebrations, exhibits, archives, landmarks, and school curricula reflect the rich and diverse history of the city. The Commission’s charge also recognizes that it is past time to update the City’s tools for historical preservation, and to do so in a way that brings new resources to bear and centers equity.
The ordinance affirms that diverse and intertwined community histories are of great value to the City of Boston and its residents, that historical tourism should be a driver of true shared prosperity, that inclusive and honest historical memory is a crucial public good worthy of attention and resources, and that communities all over the City should have the tools and resources to research, preserve, acknowledge, and celebrate their history.
The Commission will include three subcommittees: the Events, Exhibits, and Trails Subcommittee, the Timelines, Archives, and Curricula Subcommittee, and the Legislation and Preservation Tools Subcommittee. The Commission will meet for the first time within the next 60 days and will file a bi-annual progress report every six months to update the City and community on their progress.