The Future of the Past: We Are the Next Is Connecting L.A.'s Youth to Preservation

September 19, 2016 by Sarah Heffern

Numero Uno Exterior, Front

photo by: We Are the Next

The first Taco Bell (known as Numero Uno) as it was being moved from Downey to Irvine, California.

Over nearly two decades of working in historic preservation, one thing I've heard again and again is concern about the future of the movement, especially as it regards getting, and keeping, young people interested. But, perhaps because I've spent more than a few years in the online and social media end of the preservation world, I've never been worried. I learn about and interact with enthusiastic young places savers every day, and find their passion inspiring.

One such person is Katie Rispoli Keaotamai of We Are the Next, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit focused on connecting urban youth with the historic places in their communities. Rispoli Keaotamai's work recently caught the eye of OC Weekly, which profiled her:

"At just 25 years old, Rispoli is responsible for moving a 107-year-old railroad depot, the original Taco Bell, helping an iconic Long Beach cafe shine again—and she’s not done yet. We Are the Next aims to remove the museum environment of historical preservation and build a connection between urban youth and historic places that emphasize the yesterday to tell the stories of diverse communities and promote career opportunities for youth in the field of heritage conservation."

The future of the past is in good hands, I'd say!

Read the full profile here: Katie Rispoli Saved the Original Taco Bell. Now, She Wants to Get Kids into Historical Preservation

And if you're interested in learning more about the efforts to save the first Taco Bell, check out these stories:
#SaveTacoBell: America's First Taco Bell Is Threatened
#SaveTacoBell: America’s First Taco Bell Has Been Saved


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