News Release

National Parks as Platforms for Dialogue

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Date: June 19, 2020

Good morning,

On Wednesday, we commemorated the 245th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill. It turned out to be a beautiful summer day in Charlestown for holding a small gathering to remember the events and consequences of the battle. Several speakers, including City Counselor Lydia Edwards, Representative Dan Ryan and USS Constitution Commander John Benda spoke powerfully to the issues of freedom, patriotism and service. Each provided personal connections and historical context to the reasons why this revolutionary battle ensued and how issues that sparked the battle – violation of basic liberties, unjust laws, townspeople abused by soldiers, economic disparity, etc. – were worth fighting for then, as they are now.

Today as our country remembers Juneteenth, I reflect upon the recent words of National Park Service acting Director David Vela who spoke out against racial injustices in our nation. As the stewards and storytellers of our nation’s heritage, national parks have a role in revealing a deeply layered and complicated American narrative. The protests and acts of civil disobedience we are witnessing across the nation speak to the desire of the American people to uphold the promise of the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As we have learned from history, the power for change rests with the people. Many of the sites and narratives represented within the National Parks of Boston are more than historical artifacts – they provide platforms for dialogue. Places such as the Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial, the site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall, the African Meeting House on the north slope of Beacon Hill, the Harbor Islands, and Bunker Hill, as well as many other sites, speak to both injustices that have occurred and courageous acts that have made revolutionary change. The National Parks of Boston and our partners believe that these historic sites and public parks belong to the people – ALL people. We welcome the voices of protest as our nation struggles with issues of race, equity, and systemic violence.

Michael Creasey


Last updated: September 16, 2021

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