ASIAN DIASPORA IN TOMPKINS COUNTY
Oral History Collection
The History Center in Tompkins County’s Oral History Program collects, preserves, and amplifies the stories of our local community.
The Asian Diaspora in Tompkins County Oral History Collection was established in 2021 to highlight interviews and stories in our archives that explore the experiences of Asian, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, and South-Asian people living in Tompkins County. The topics of these interviews explore a wide range of experiences, community, and culture, and the stories shared may have been guided by the specific project the interview was recorded for. This collection will continue to expand as our Oral History archives continue to grow.
Visit our Exhibit Hall to hear oral history clips in our Story Vault exhibit!
Mimi Melegrito grew up in the Phillippines and has has worked in Ithaca as a volunteer in nursing homes, food banks, and local 4-H youth clubs. Our Oral Histories of Tompkins County collections include interviews with her from 2017 and 2018.
FEATURED ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEWS
Ooy & Bonner Herren - 2019 - Immigration & Food Project
Ooy Herren discusses her business ventures in Thailand, including a gas station and a bakery, and her restaurant in Ithaca, Thai Basil. She also discusses the time-intensive nature of owning a small business and the difficulties that the language barrier has imposed.
Amy Somchanhmavong - 2019 - Local Sisters of Change Project
Amy Somchanhmavong speaks on the intersection of creating a space for Asian American studies in academia and connecting this pursuit to community engagement. She reflects on leading the push for the establishment of the Asian American Studies program in Binghamton University and, upon moving to Ithaca, becoming involved with various community-based organizations in order to apply this work. Amy currently serves as the Associate Director of Community Service-Learning and Partnership at Ithaca College and is the co-founder of the Ithaca Asian American Association, Ithaca Dragon Boat Club, and the Ithaca Pan Asian American Film Festival.