By Saadia Khan
ImmigrantlyFeb 20, 2019
A Leap of Faith
Qinza Najm is a Pakistani-American visual artist whose interdisciplinary artistic practice explores gendered violence and female subjectivity. Her work has been featured in Artnet News, the Huffington Post, N.Y. Daily News, International Business Week, Buzzfeed, and Herald. Saadia spoke to Qinza about her evolution from a psychologist and a professor at a prestigious University to a freelance artist in New York.
Immigration-A Love Story
This week's episode is centered around an incredible immigration love story. An Italian-born Designer/Media Advertiser, Francesco Bertocci, meets his future wife, Lucy Harris, an American who went to Rome to teach English after college. They fall in love, get married, and the rest, as they say, is history.
"Did you grow up cooking with your Mother and Grandmother?"
Preeti Mistry is the co-author of the Juhu Beach Club Cookbook based on her restaurant Juhu Beach Club in Oakland, CA. Her cooking was featured on CNN's Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain, and she was a contestant on Top Chef Season 6. Preeti Mistry is outspoken, bold, and she proudly accepts all the different layers of her identity. She identifies as a brown queer immigrant woman chef who is challenging the historically male white dominance of the culinary industry.
The Alien Chronicles is changing its name to "Immigrantly”
This fall, the Alien Chronicles is changing its name to Immigrantly. The name Immigrantly is more representative of our broader aspirations, to explore the intersectionality of racial identity, culture, and class through the lens of immigrant experiences. Our new name marks the beginning of a new journey, and I’m excited to embark on it together.
"Dosa Man-A Quintessential American Story"
An immigrant comes to New York City and makes it big with a simple idea. Known as Dosa man, Thiru Kumar has fans all over the world, from California to Japan. His name is listed on 42 countries guidebooks. His was the first vegan dosa cart in the World. Thiru Kumar's cart is situated at the southwest corner of Washington Square Park in New York. I sat down with Thiru Kumar to talk about his life as a small business owner and an immigrant in the US.
It's just part of the Muslim Experience
Aymann Ismail is an award-winning podcast host, video editor, photographer, and writer at Slate whose work focuses on identity and religion. As a kid of Egyptian Immigrants, Ayman's early childhood experiences reflect reconciling with the duality of his identity. He wrote and produced "Who's Afraid of Aymann Ismail?" a video series that negates stereotypes of both American Muslims, and those are scared of them. He currently hosts "Man Up," a weekly interview podcast about men, relationships, family, race, and sex.
You can support our podcast by donating to the gofundme. Here's the link
Our music is composed by Basim Usmani, one of the lead vocalists of the punk band "The Kominas"
Are you Exactly like Me?
Basim Usmani is one of the founders of the punk band "The Kominas" that was born out of Massachusetts in the early 2000s. Since their inception, the Kominas were lauded for breaking cultural boundaries and turning that which is unexpected into a new reality. Saadia Khan talks to Basim about his music, sense of belonging within and outside immigrant communities, and how he balances his American and Pakistani identities.
You can support our podcast by donating to our gofundme
One Story at a Time
Saadia Khan talks to Saadia Faruqi. Saadia is a Pakistani American author, essay writer, and interfaith activist. She writes children's early reader series "Yasmin" published by Capstone. She has also written "Brick Walls: Tales of Hope & Courage from Pakistan" a short story collection for adults and teens. As part of her activism, Saadia trains various audiences, including faith groups and law enforcement on topics about Islam. She was featured in Oprah Magazine in 2017 as a woman making a difference in her community. She is the editor-in-chief of Blue Minaret, a magazine for Muslim art, poetry, and prose. She resides in Houston, TX, with her husband and children. They talk about religion, culture, and integration!
You can support the pod by clicking on the link below
A White DACA Recipient
I recorded my interview with Gosia Labno, a couple of months ago, but I am releasing it today because of its relevance to the current discourse on immigration. When I spoke to Gosia, The Dream and American Promise ACT HR 6 was introduced. We spoke briefly about its impact. Recently the House Judiciary Committee passed HR6. With the Democratic majority in the house, it will most like pass the chambers but not move forward in the GOP controlled Senate. Nevertheless, I am excited to publish the episode at the time of a historic victory for immigration advocates and DACA recipients!
Gosia Łabno is a DACA recipient, but she is rarely taken for one because she does not match the American narrative of what a DACA recipient should look like, she is a blonde blue eyed immigrant from Poland.
She is also a communications specialist at a firm in Chicago and the co-founder of KULTURA, an online magazine profiling changemakers to inspire those "who will undoubtedly follow." Gosia holds an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in Media and Cinema Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We talk to Gosia about the challenges she faces as a DACA recipient and her hope for the future.
You can support the pod by clicking on the link below
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses"
Immigration has been a contentious topic in the United States for a few years now. However, the dialogue has, for some time, focused on legal vs. illegal immigration. In very recent years, the focus has shifted not only to criminalizing illegal immigration into the United States but also curtailing legal migration altogether. We see this in the current discussion around asylum seekers, especially those who are migrating from Central America trying to escape horrid conditions. Our next guest is Jorge Valencia. Jorge is the Mexico correspondent from KJZZ Phoenix. He joined the station in August 2016 as it's first senior field correspondent based in Mexico City. His reporting focuses on the business and economics between Arizona and Mexico. He has been the recipient of multiple journalism awards for his work in radio and in newspapers. Jorge has seen first-hand the hardships that asylum seekers on our Southern border have to face to migrate into the United States. Since my interview with Jorge, two more migrant kids, one of them only 2½-year-old, died after crossing the border, becoming five minors known to have died after being detained by the Border Patrol since December.
What's in a Name
What's in Name" is a Special Edition of The Alien Chronicles Podcast. It centers on the discussion around how some people who migrate to America change their names to more mainstream American names. Saadia talks about why she decided to keep her name and what this means to her in the context of her identity. Her co-host for this episode is one of her previous guests, Lisa Genn. Lisa's story was featured in the episode "My Grandmother's legacy"
#26 The one who rebels
In this episode Saadia Khan talks to a Syrian refugee living in Berlin. Thair Orfahli grew up in Syria, in a middle-class family. His childhood was relatively normal, and he was studying law in Lebanon when the Syrian war broke out, what ensued was a series of fateful events which led him to leave everything behind, risk his life by riding a flimsy boat across the Mediterranean to get to Germany and seek asylum. He is a refugee who got political asylum in Germany. His story is that of resilience, heroism and unfettered conviction in the face of unprecedented adversity.
#25 Is the American Dream a myth?
Saadia interviews Jade Chang. Jade is the author of The Wangs vs. the World. The book has been named a New York Times Editors Choice as well as best Book of the Year by Amazon, Buzzfeed, NPR, and others. Jade has appeared on national programs and she has spoken to audiences at universities and book festivals. According to NPR "Her book is unrelentingly fun, but it is also raw and profane—a story of fierce pride, fierce anger, and even fiercer love." She is also the contributing writer to The Good Immigrant USA. Her essay titled "How to Center Your Story" is the perfect ending to the book. They talk about her writing, the notion of the American Dream and how Jade felt "othered" after the 2016 elections.
# 24 Our journey is never complete
Priya Minhas is a writer and producer from London. Her writing explores South Asian immigrant identity. Priya is a contributing writer to The Good Immigrant USA, an American edition of an award-winning best-selling anthology exploring race. Her writing is featured in BuzzFeed, Burnt Roti, Kajal Magazine and Brown Girl Magazine. She is currently based in New York where she works with artists producing and directing original music content at Vevo. Saadia talks to Priya about her writing, her dual identity and things that matter!
#23 First comes Marriage, then comes Love
Huda Al-Marashi is the Iraqi-American author of First Comes Marriage: My Not-So-Typical American Love Story, a book the Washington Post called "a charming, funny, heartbreaking memoir of faith, family, and the journey to love. If Jane Austen had grown up as a first-gen daughter of Iraqi parents in the 1990s, she might have written this.”
Her other writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the LA Times, al Jazeera, Refinery 29, the Offing and elsewhere.
Huda currently resides in California with her husband and three children. We talk about her book and her take on marriage, and relationships.
#22 Am I a good Immigrant?
In this episode, Saadia talks to Chimene Suleyman. Chimene is the editor of The Good Immigrant USA, and a contributing writer to the original best-selling award-winning British anthology The Good Immigrant (Unbound, 2016). Chimene’s work has also appeared in the Guardian, Independent, IBTimes, The Quietus, News night, BBC Radio 4’s Today Program, NPR, and Sky news. Chimene and Saadia talk about the intersectionality between gender and race. Chimene explains how she felt embarrassed about her parents' culture, when she was growing up in London and how she has come to embrace her identity as a Muslim woman of color. They laugh about Saadia's obsession with Chimene's twitter feed, which in Saadia's opinion is very informative and bold!
#21 "A brave friendship"
Beth Schuman and Nizar Farsakh are part of an organization called Combatants for Peace.The egalitarian, bi-national, grassroots organization was founded on the belief that the cycle of violence can only be broken when Israelis and Palestinians join forces. Committed to joint nonviolence since its foundation, CFP works to both transform and resolve the conflict by ending Israeli occupation and all forms of violence between the two sides and building a peaceful future for both peoples. Nizar Farsakh is a Palestinian immigrant, he is a trainer, private consultant, and public speaker who focuses his work around leadership, negotiation and advocacy. Beth Schuman is the Executive Director of American Friends of Combatants for Peace. She has worked with the movement for two and a half years, forming the American organization a year and a half ago
#20-Three Immigrant stories
Saadia Khan changes the format for this episode. She introduces three immigrant stories. Each immigrant shares their experiences in the US in their own words from a different vantage point. You will hear from them what it's like to be an immigrant in the US. Each perspective is unique in that it unravels the complexities of being an immigrant through the lens of the narrator without any leading questions or any set direction.
#19-America is a Salad
Sanjana Bhatnagar and Stephanie Munn are high school students and Students for Refugees (SFR) representatives. S.F.R. is working to raise funds to support educational facilities and individual student programs in affected countries as well as supporting local refugees. There are a broad range of things that SFR engages in, but their primary goal is to get students involved in helping refugees. SFR works in three areas: resettlement, advocacy/education, and fundraising
In addition to SFR, they advocate for refugees by supporting other initiatives. Sanjana is associated with the Syria fund and Stephanie is planning a Walk A Mile in My Shoes refugee experience. We talk about all these topics in our interview.
#18- My Immigrant Mother
Saadia Khan talks Susan Muaddi Darraj, a Palestinian American. Susan talks about her experiences as a child of immigrants and how her dual identity has shaped her life. Susan is an Associate Professor of English at Hartford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland. Susan is also a Lecturer in the Johns Hopkins University’s MA in Writing program. In 2014, her short story collection, A Curious Land: Stories from Home won several awards and accolades. Her previous short story collection, The Inheritance of Exile, was published in 2007 is a compilation of stories about daughters born in the US and their immigrant mothers.
#17- Let's get to know each other
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based Bangladeshi journalist and poet focusing on migration, the refugee crisis, gender and mental health. She completed her M.S. in Journalism from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
Samira began her journalism career in Dhaka, Bangladesh, covering the 2013 factory collapse, the country's ethnic and religious minorities, and its LGBT community. Her work appears in Reuters, NPR, Al Jazeera, Quartz, The Lily, and the Dhaka Tribune among other publications. Her story was nominated for a 2018 South Asian Journalists Association award. She is the Editor-in-chief of the Bangladeshi Identity Project, a media platform for the Bangladeshi diaspora
#16-Because I sucked at it...
Saadia Khan talks to Suzie Afridi. She is a Palestinian American stand up comedian. She was born and raised in Jericho, in the West Bank. Her dad was a Welder and her mom was a farmer. When she was fourteen her family immigrated to San Jose, California. She attended San Jose State University.Suzie is an accountant by profession but she realized she was terrible at her job and decided to pursue another career. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and kid. Suzie talks about her journey to America, why she chose to do stand up comedy and her life as a Palestinian American.
#15-Immigrants make America great
Saadia Khan talks to Tahmina Watson about pressing immigration issues. Tahmina is a nationally acclaimed immigration attorney and the founder of Watson Immigration Law, in Seattle, Washington. She was a barrister in London before immigrating to America. Tahmina is also the author of “The Startup Visa: Key to Job Growth & Economic Prosperity in America”. In addition to appearing on CNN, Forbes and other media platforms, she is the host of “Tahmina Talks Immigration” a radio show turned podcast available on itunes. Recently, Tahmina helped cofound a non-profit, the Washington Immigrant Defense Network- WIDEN as a result of the current administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy. WIDEN, funds and facilitates legal representation in the immigration courtroom.
#14- Where the East and the West meet
Saadia Khan reminisces about her trip to Turkey as she interviews Melike Ayan. Melike is originally from Turkey. She is the New York Correspondent for Bloomberg HT Television where she provides in-depth coverage and analysis of major economic and business trends, including in-depth reporting on global corporations. Additionally, Ayan established her own company, Mel Strategies, which specializes in media relations and crisis communications
#13-My Grandmother's legacy
Saadia Khan talks to Lisa Genn. Lisa was born in Russia, her parents and she left Moscow in December 1989 on the verge of the collapse of the Soviet Union in hopes of resettling in America under a program for bringing Soviet Jews to the United States as refugees. Lisa is a lawyer by profession, but has worked on human rights issues throughout her career. she is a city girl who spend most of her time in Manhattan but now lives in Westchester county in NY with her husband and two young children.
#12-I am a Bridge
#11-I am a Survivor
Saadia Khan talks to Reshad Ahmedi, an immigrant from Afghanistan. Reshad worked for ten years on U.S.-funded re-construction projects in Afghanistan, until insurgents targeted him for his affiliation with the United States. Reshad is in the US on a Special Immigration Visa (SIV) to the United States. He is now an Assistant Project Manager at a local Tectonic Engineering & Surveying. Reshad is also an Ambassador of the Westchester Refugee Initiative, helping to spread the word about refugees.
#10- My Ancestors' Land
In this first episode of Season 2, Saadia Khan talks to Alyssa Mosley. Alyssa was born and raised in the homeland of Lenape people, also known as Bridgeton NJ. She is the enrolled member of Nanticoke Lenni- Lenape tribe, it’s the largest Indian tribe in NJ. The history of Lenape tribe goes back over 10,000 years. Most of Lenape people faced forced migration to Canada or mid western US but some still left behind. In 2015, Alyssa was crowned princess to represent her people. She is studying business studies. We get her perspective on immigration debate in the US and her life as an indigenous princess
#9- We are more similar than different
#8- Home is Elusive
#7-From Kashmir to America: A Muslim Feminist's Journey
#6-Guess what? I am not an Engineer
#5-Oh sweet diversity..how I love thee!
#4-I have Faith
#3-A tale of a taxpaying DREAMER
#2- I am home
#1-What's with the accent?
The Alien Chronicles: Trailer