Informed & Civil Conversations about the depiction of our history in public places
‘I say … I see…” exists to support informed and civil conversations about the depiction of our shared history in public places. While this traditionally includes statues, murals, signage and plaques, it can also include public holidays and public education.
A handful of us have gotten together, motivated by the idea that we can do much better as a society when it comes to public conversations about controversial subjects. We have diverse backgrounds, professions and identities. Our focus and interest is what we memorialize and celebrate in public spaces, from a historical perspective.
What are the hallmarks of an I say… I see… conversation?
1) We share our names and how we identify.
2) We distinguish between fact and opinion, although both are equally valid, and sought.
3) We each speak with a goal of having others understand why we think and feel as we do, not to change minds, or to convince anyone that we are “right.”
Online survey offers context, seeks opinions, first up: Rhinebeck Post Office murals
We are in the process of creating an online survey of opinions, starting with the Rhinebeck Post Office murals.
Participants will be asked to first understand historical context with material provided by the Dutchess County Historical Society. Participants will be able view short video “conversation starters” that show a range of diverse opinions and perspectives. The beginning of this contextual work is emerging here. Click the button just below. The videos are only just beginning production.
Online survey process is educational
We believe the process of taking the online survey will be valuable in and of itself, by being educational.
Results will be published and forwarded to US Postal Service and Town and Village officials
Regarding the Rhinebeck Post Office murals, our first I say… I see… project, the most recent communication from the US Postal Service suggests that they are going through a review of historic murals. We will forward the results of the survey to them as part of their review process. Results will be shared with Town and Village officials. And made available to the general public on this website.
While it is the policy of the Postal Service to preserve and protect the historic artwork in its collection for future generations, we are mindful that certain murals generate strong feelings for some of our employees and customers. With that in mind, discussions are being held on how to properly handle and safeguard the future of those pieces. We are evaluating each of the pieces and we will work to ensure that appropriate action is taken on select murals, if deemed necessary. Concerning other publicly displayed artwork in Post Offices, you can refer to The United States Postal Service: An American History Publication Pub 100.USPS October 14, 2020