These Places Matter. Help Us Preserve Them

Urbanist Media is a community preservation collective with a mission to elevate underrepresented voices and ensure the places significant to them are preserved. We do that through storytelling/podcasting, events, educational resources, as well as physical preservation work.

Our Executive Director, Deqah Hussein-Wetzel, is a Somali-American historic preservationist and architectural historian who works primarily with African American communities in Cincinnati. Over and over again in her work, she would see the same pattern: places significant to people of color and other marginalized groups were the first to be knocked down at the hands of development and the last to be considered “significant” or worth saving by her colleagues in the preservation field. So much of what made these places important could not be found in historical records or archives, but only through conversation with the people who lived around them. And so in 2020, Deqah reached out to New York-based podcaster and cities journalist Vanessa Quirk — and Urban Roots, a podcast that aims to help marginalized communities preserve the places that matter to them through story, was born.

Through their work collaborating with community members, whose stories and input shape the episodes, Deqah soon realized that there was more work to be done to fill the gaps of preservation education and access for communities of color. In May of 2021, she started the nonprofit Urbanist Media — which offers educational resources, free event programming, and preservation services at a sliding scale — in order to help more people of color preserve the places significant to them.

When Deqah reached out to Sean Andres, a Sarah Fossett expert, for the podcast episode on South Cumminsville, she also asked if he’d join the board of directors for Urbanist Media. After he did, they began discussing plans for how Sean’s public history project Queens of Queen City could operate under Urbanist Media. As the board honed the mission and vision of Urbanist Media, Queens of Queen City was adopted by Urbanist Media as part of the family. And since Jake Hogue joined Queens of Queen City, their mission also altered to be inclusive of LGBTQA+ histories. Queens of Queen City members are integral in public outreach through events with Stand-Up History, the Cincinnati Observatory, the Cincinnati Museum Center, Piatt Castles, and more.
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Urbanist Media
Organizer
Cincinnati, OH

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