The complex history of housing and race in Clark County will be tackled in an upcoming Facebook live event held by the Clark County Historical Museum.
“A Tale of Two Vancouvers: A Story of Housing and Race in Clark County” juxtaposes the different experiences with housing that certain populations had and how that’s led the community to where it is today. The talk takes place 7 p.m. Oct. 1 on the museum’s Facebook page: facebook.com/cchmuseum.
The museum’s monthly speaker series went virtual during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
April Buzby, the museum’s programs and marketing manager, is leading the talk. She’s worked in affordable housing for eight years. Her master’s degree in urban regional planning focused on housing and advocacy work for marginalized community, and her first job out of school was at a housing authority. While continuing research outside her museum role, there have been more community conversations around systemic racism.
She’ll discuss the Fort Vancouver and Kanaka Village period, when people were determining who could get land and who could get citizenship. Some of these early decisions hindered the growth of Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
She’ll also talk about challenges the Black community faced during World War II and after as well as findings from the NAACP.
The question to ask, she said, is “how did we get here?” so the community can figure out where it wants to go and how to get there. It’s not a place to start pointing fingers but to explain why we’re at where we’re at, Buzby said.
“The idea behind this talk is to start the conversation,” she said.
Buzby’s interest in housing started young. With a father in the military, her family moved a lot, and she observed different communities and people on the margins. As she grew older, she wondered how policy shaped the way a community looked.
During the Oct. 1 talk, people can ask questions online. Buzby said she hopes it spurs conversations elsewhere along with more events down the road when in-person gatherings are allowed.
After being closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Clark County Historical Museum opens to members and sponsors today. It opens to the general public on Oct. 1 with limited capacity.