This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please inquire about permissions.
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Luisa Burgos-Thillet is a current resident of Bliss Towers in Hudson, NY who volunteered to be interviewed for the 2017 summer session of Oral History Summer School. Raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, Luisa shared that her Childhood was greatly affected by her adoption as an infant and the confidentiality exercised by the State of New Jersey regarding information about her birth parents. This missing information has affected her ability to form a racial identity and only within the few years before this interview did she discover the name given to her at birth, Luisa. In describing the experience of discovering her birth name, Luisa shared that she never felt comfortable with the name Rebecca (exact spelling not known), that her adoptive parents gave her and that she plans to change it legally. Luisa spent her adult life living in the East Harlem neighborhood in New York City, as well as in the cities of Cobleskill and Schenectady, NY before moving to Hudson a few years prior to 2017. Although East Harlem is the place she still regards most as “home,” she spent part of the interview discussing the experience of raising her three sons in Cobleskill including how they were able to personally and publicly address issues of race in this predominantly white city. Activism and social justice has been a large part of Luisa’s whole life as part of her vocation and volunteerism and she discussed her role as a facilitator of various race-related training programs. While, Luisa continues to be active within several social justice organizations, she feels that she has to focus on some of the health issues that she has been facing in the past few years.
This interview would be of interest to those curious about understanding the social and emotional effects of closed adoptions, trends in community organizing over the past three decades, the importance of race-based dialogues within families and communities, as well as the changes of urban form and services of Hudson, NY in 2017.
Megan Bucknum resides in Philadelphia, PA and teaches at Rowan University in Southern New Jersey, in addition to working as an independent consultant. She has a background in urban planning that she applies to sustainability and food system focused projects. Megan conducted this interview as a student in the Oral History Summer School.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”