Feb 1, 2017

AASLH Responds to President’s Executive Order Restricting Entry to U.S. 

At this moment, when the President of the United States has issued an executive order restricting travel from certain countries into the United States, the American Association for State and Local History reminds its members of the vibrancy that varied cultures, races, religions, and ethnicities bring to our nation. Everyone makes history, and relevant history is inclusive history.

State and local history is about telling the stories of individuals and communities contextualized in the history of the nation and internationally, and immigrants and cultural exchange have always been vital to American community. As educational institutions and places hosting public discussion, history organizations help people to understand this history, see the present more clearly, and make better decisions in the future. Every day, AASLH members provide vital context for our communities and for our leaders to examine and make pathways forward.

We urge our nation’s leaders to consider the importance of historical thinking and to consult the historical record when developing policy. AASLH therefore endorses the strong statement recently issued by the American Historical Association which “urges the policy community to learn from our nation’s history…. What we have seen before can help us understand possible implications of the executive order.” As pointed out in the AHA statement, even as proud Americans, we need not look far in our past as a nation to see the harmful impact of intentionally excluding specific groups from the American promise.

AASLH asks its members to share their exhibits and programs on immigration, refugees, religious tolerance, cultural distinctiveness, and related topics that provide the critical historical perspective our nation needs. We are particularly looking for programs or exhibits that are ongoing, can be replicated by other members, or can travel. Share your program on your Twitter using hashtag #AASLHcollects or send us an email ([email protected]) so that we can share via social media.