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.
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This interview was conducted at Promise Neighborhood with Ramisa Tasnim, a 19 year old woman, who was born in Bangladesh and grew up in Hudson, New York. Ramisa identifies as both Bangladeshi and American, and is a practicing Muslim with a strong network of family, community, and spiritual support. Ramisa spent the first few years of her life with her mother and family in Bangladesh; during this time, her father sought employment in the United States, and worked in the Button Factory in Hudson. His wife and daughter joined him in Hudson when Ramisa was 4. When Ramisa began kindergarten in Hudson, she did not yet speak English, but by the end of her first year in school, she was fluently bi-lingual. Ramisa’s three younger sisters were born in Hudson after the family was reunited. Ramisa describes the struggles and sacrifices her parents made as working-class immigrants in Hudson; she emphasizes the love and support she received from her family, friends and community. She speaks of teachers, mentors, and strong female role models, including her mother. At the time of this interview, Ramisa was living in Hudson with her family for the summer and working at Promise Neighborhood, after completing her first year as a college student at Hamilton. She is the first member of her family to attend college in the United States. She describes the challenges facing her as a first-generation college student, and as a Muslim, in the United States in 2017. She also describes activities she enjoys with her other teenage friends in Hudson.
This interview may be of interest to researchers or listeners interested in the Bangladeshi, Muslim, working-class, and immigrant communities of Hudson, or the United States more broadly, particularly the experience of women, teenagers, and college students within these communities.
Gillian Osborne is a writer and educator based in Massachusetts, and raised in upstate New York. She holds advanced degrees in creative writing and literature from the University of California-Berkeley, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard from 2015-2017. In the U.S. and in Japan, she has worked with students in high schools, colleges, universities, and a prison, and has published poems, essays, and reviews.
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.”