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Where EAST meets the Northwest

 CAPTURING HISTORY. The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) and The Immigrant Story have announced that a series of oral history interviews with local immigrants are now publicly available through the OHS Digital Collections website. The stories shared in the audio interviews cover a wide range of experiences and perspectives from around the globe. (Photo courtesy of The Immigrant Story)

From The Asian Reporter, V30, #11 (October 5, 2020), page 11.

OHS, TIS collaborate to preserve and create access to oral history interviews with local immigrants and refugees

The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) and The Immigrant Story (TIS) have announced that a series of oral history interviews with local immigrants are now publicly available through the OHS Digital Collections website. The stories shared in the audio interviews cover a wide range of experiences and perspectives from around the globe. The individuals, who have nearly all found their home in Oregon, provide a glimpse at the variety of reasons that compel people to immigrate: for safety, for opportunity, for careers, for love.

Discussions between OHS and TIS began in 2018 around finding a suitable archive for The Immigrant Storyís original oral history recordings. OHSís commitment to public access, substantial experience with oral history collections, and existing infrastructure to preserve digital recordings made the organization a natural home. The newly available recordings are among the earliest recorded by The Immigrant Story. More will be added over time.

The agreement is part of a larger partnership between OHS and TIS that also includes public programs and a series of exhibitions at the OHS museum in downtown Portland. The first exhibit in the three-exhibit partnership, "DREAMs Deferred," is on view through October 11.

One of the recordings now live on the website features a 2017 interview with Anisha Ginshing. In the interview, Ginshing discusses her early life in a camp for Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, immigrating to Idaho at age nine, and learning English as a Second Language in elementary school. After moving to Portland, Ginshing attended Parkrose High School, where she took advance-placement courses and was involved in extracurricular activities, including a Latinx student leadership club. Through the club, she became involved in multicultural festivals at her school and introduced her school to traditional Nepali dances and foods. In 2017, she began studies at Portland Community College with plans to become a registered nurse.

Another interview features a conversation with Indian immigrant Prashant Ashok Kakad. Born in Nasik, India, in 1982, Kakadís father was an officer in IndiaĎs Air Force, but switched careers in the mid-1990s to become a police officer in Bombay. Kakad graduated from high school in Bombay in 1999, and then attended the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai. He came to the United States in 2003 to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he earned a masterís degree in polymer science in 2006 and later moved to Hillsboro, Oregon to work at Intel. In 2009, he decided to leave Intel to pursue a career in music, and in 2010, he founded Jai Ho! dance parties and Bollywood Dreams Entertainment.

The candid conversations and the others now available on OHS Digital Collections were initially recorded so TIS volunteer journalists could write short biographies of each person for the organizationís website. Founded in 2017 by Sankar Raman, The Immigrant Storyís mission is "to document, narrate, and curate the stories of immigrants in order to enhance empathy and help promote an inclusive community." Its goal is to both advance the national dialogue and to dispel myths about new Americans through strong, thoughtful narratives.

OHS Digital Collections highlight more than 31,000 items, including photographs, manuscripts, ephemera, moving images, and audio recordings. To learn more, or to explore the online collection, visit <www.ohs.org>.

 

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