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arizona preservation webinar network (3)
arizona preservation webinar network (3)
arizona preservation webinar network (3)

Whose History is it Anyway? ~ Empowering Communities of Color to Identify and Preserve Their Own Stories

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 

View the recording of the event



In recent years, the field of historic preservation has attempted to reconcile its “white” roots with the need to preserve the full American story. Preservationists have long bemoaned the lack of representation of communities of color in the National Register of Historic Places and have voiced concern over the alarming loss of properties that tell the story of indigenous communities and people of color across the American landscape. However, although awareness exists, how successful have efforts been to plan for the long-term preservation of stories and places important to people of color? In all this well-intended enthusiasm, have preservationists made adequate efforts to elevate the voices of community members and engage them fully in telling their own story? Whose history is it anyway?


This webinar will discuss efforts to tell stories and save places associated with Arizona’s rich ethnic heritage. Panelists will discuss efforts underway to preserve stories and places in this state and beyond using unique strategies to overcome barriers that prevent us from telling the full story.


Join us for a program given by a panel of community members, historians, and subject matter experts who will share their experiences uncovering stories of diverse communities. We will kick-off with a keynote presentation by Dr. Eduardo Obregón Pagán of Arizona State University, hear presentations and stories from people across the state, and end with a lively afternoon panel discussion to help inform, inspire, and empower participants to record the histories of their own communities.

Keynote Speaker: 

  • Dr. Eduardo Obregón Pagán is the Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History at Arizona State University. As a versatile interdisciplinary historian, his research explores the complex experiences and interplay of the West’s diverse populations. He has published in literary, geology, and sociology journals, and is the author of "Murder at the Sleepy Lagoon: Zoot Suits, Race, and Riot in Wartime L.A." (2004), "Historic Photos of Phoenix" (2007), "Remembering Phoenix" (2010), and "Valley of the Guns: The Pleasant Valley War and the Trauma of Violence" (2018). In addition, he has been active as a public historian as a co-host on the popular PBS and PBSUK series "History Detectives," on several domestic and international television shows, and on documentaries. He also serves the adjunct curator of history at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum.


  • Taz Khatri, the principal and founder of Taz Khatri Studios, is a licensed architect in Arizona, California, and Oregon. She has over 20 years of experience in a variety of building types including healthcare, commercial, multifamily residential, and single-family residential. Taz, of East Indian heritage, came to America when she was eight years old from Mozambique. She’s lived in Phoenix for 23 years after living in Indianapolis. She went to high school in Mesa and did her Bachelor and Master of Architecture at Arizona State University (go Sun Devils!). She lived in Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco for a total of six years but then she came to her senses and moved back to Phoenix. She lives with her cat Regina in a duplex she renovated in the Avalon Neighborhood of Central Phoenix. Taz is a faculty associate at Arizona State University teaching at The Design School part time. She also writes about architecture. You can find her most current writing on Redshift, an online magazine published by Autodesk,, and Taz is also the Membership Chair of the National Organization of Minority Architects Arizona Chapter and serves on the Arizona Historic Sites Review Committee. Taz loves being an urban dweller and enjoys riding her bike, going for walks, and relaxing in the shade in urban parks with her boyfriend, supporting local restaurants and businesses, and hanging out with her family at the Khatri Manzil, a home she designed for her parents.




  • Desiree Aranda is an independent cultural heritage consultant and planner based in Phoenix. She is also a co-founder and co-chair of the national nonprofit, Latinos in Heritage Conservation. Her prior experience includes working for the San Francisco Planning Department and San Francisco Heritage, a local preservation advocacy nonprofit. Desiree has spent the last decade working with communities to document and preserve important places, particularly those associated with communities of color and other marginalized social groups. She sees heritage conservation as a tool for social justice and intergenerational healing. Desiree holds a bachelor’s of arts in sociology and women’s studies and a master’s of science in planning.

  • Josefina Contreras Cardenas is a native of Tucson (S-cuk Son to the First Nation Tohono O’odham People). She is named Inik Ce Cauyo Kalan‛ in the Náhuatl-Mexica language. She is of Mexican descent to the Escalante family, Rincon Mountain settlers. Born in a barrio where her father was raised, she grew-up in one of the last remaining ranch-well (acequia) irrigation farms along the Santa Cruz River. Josefina has been married for 39 years; her husband is from Jalisco, Mexico. They have three children (now owners, trainer and jockey at the historical Rillito Race Track) and two grandchildren, the fourth generation raised below Sentinel Peak at the original birthplace of the City of Tucson. Josefina has been a community organizer for 30 years. She has been the defender for the preservation of Barrio Kroeger Lane from the development of Rio Nuevo and is founder of Rancho Chuk Shon – the initial vision for the O’odham Family Monument, the transformation of Tucson’s Original Birthplace from a landfill to a Multi-Cultural Family gathering site that includes a Lienzo Charro‛- equestrian site. Her family has received numerous trophies for their horsemanship in the Tucson Rodeo Parade, which also included participation by their children’s school. She graduated from Cholla High School in 1979, the same year she was crowned “Reina de las Fiestas Patrias.” She has been recognized in a San Xavier District Council of Tohono O’odham Nation Resolution and received a National Grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. In 2017 she received a Tohono O’odham Grant for Economic Development.

  • Langston Emerson Guettinger, Architectural Historian/Historic Preservation Specialist with Logan Simpson, has worked throughout the Western U.S. on a wide variety of projects in Washington State, Oregon, Northern California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico. These projects have taken place at an array of public and private institutions and most recently include preparing historic context documents for the Colorado cities of Pueblo and Greeley, writing an architectural context for the Los Barrios Viejos National Historic Landmark nomination, as well as completing National Register nomination forms for buildings and structures within Arizona. Through these efforts, Langston has interfaced with a multitude of interested parties from state historic preservation offices (SHPOs) to affected members of the public. He is an adept investigator within the historic record and is skilled at collating an array of research into a succinct narrative. Langston has also prepared historic structure reports, as well as numerous determinations of eligibility where his research has centered upon historic homesteads, Arizona’s early built environment, and historic development within the National Park Service (NPS).

  • Shareé Hurts is the Strategic Partnerships Program Manager for APS working with community partners to create, innovate, and implement programs that benefit Arizonans. Prior to APS, Shareé spent ten years in the healthcare industry, primarily focused on Medicaid. Specializing in project management, organizational governance, and proposal development. In addition to her career in the corporate sector, Shareé has continued her passion of serving. This led to her passion project of serving through teaching.  Shareé is an adjunct faculty member at South Mountain Community College currently teaching within the Storytelling Institute. A native of the California Bay Area before calling Phoenix home, Shareé enjoys traveling with her two children and spending time with family and friends. Shareé has a bachelor’s degree in political science from ASU West and a master’s degree in law from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, ASU.

  • Jennifer Levstik has over 20 years of experience in cultural resources management and historic preservation. She has worked throughout the Southwest, California, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, and Colorado, and has broad experience as an architectural historian, archaeological field director, and planner. She was the former Lead Planner for the Tucson Historic Preservation Office and has extensive experience preparing National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) nominations, Historic American Buildings Survey, Engineering Record, and Landscape-level documentation (HABS/HAER/HALS), Building Condition and Assessment documentation, and historic preservation survey and master plans. Jennifer serves as an adjunct instructor with the University of Arizona’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture; is the Vice-Chair of the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission, and serves on the board of the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). She has authored hundreds of technical reports, national register nominations, academic and public history articles, as well as online publications for the Society of Architectural Historians.

  • Mark Reavis is Heritage Preservation Officer and Neighborhood Planner in the City of Flagstaff's Planning and Development Services Department. He is responsible for compliance with City ordinances for National Register Districts within Flagstaff (Townsite, Northside Residential, Railroad, and Southside) Overlay Districts (Townsite & Downtown). He is also responsible for Section 106 reviews for Federal Undertakings and meets yearly requirements as a Certified Local Government (CLG) in conjunction with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office. He writes and administers preservation grants, updates his community's historic inventory and design review documents, and reviews and permits all modification to homes over 50 years. He is part of a local team for Comprehensive Neighborhood planning with recent completion of Southside Plan (to be adopted). Mark also manages an architecture and community planning and design firm specializing in preserving unique quality of life aspects of the Rocky Mountain Region through creative, comprehensive, and affordable implementable designs. An architectural practice was maintained throughout the majority of his professional career to maintain efficiency and continuing knowledge of community planning and development, architecture, construction techniques, and building trades providing licensed services to private clients as well as a component of public service.

  • Dr. Jack Reid is a historian of American mobility. His article “I Wanted to Get Up and Move” documents the labor migrations of African American lumber workers leaving the South in search of opportunity in the forests of northern Arizona. Based upon a rich collection of oral history accounts, the article showcases the voices of the migrants themselves and contextualizes their journeys within the wider sweep of American history. Reid’s first book, "Roadside Americans" (UNC Press, 2020), explores the ways in which the history of hitchhiking in the United States intersected with broader cultural shifts in the 20th century. In both cases, Reid investigates how race, class, and gender inform Americans’ access to mobility and perceptions of the nation’s roadways. Reid is currently the Learning Specialist at Northern Arizona University's Academic Success Centers. When not working, Jack enjoys spending time with his daughter and wife as well as reading, writing, and exploring new places.


Eduardo Pagán


Taz Khatri


Desiree Aranda

Josefina Contreras Cardenas_edited.jpg

Josefina Cardenas

Langston Guettinger_edited.jpg

Langston Guettinger


Shareé Hurts


Jennifer Levstik

Mark Reavis_edited.jpg

Mark Reavis


Jack Reid

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