Berkshire Immigrant Stories Project

BCC has received a grant from Mass Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a pilot project — Berkshire Immigrant Stories.

The project goal is to collect and share the stories of recent local immigrants (1965 and later) and their children and grandchildren through an online exhibit and archive called “Your Story, Our Story,” developed by the Tenement Museum of New York.

The Berkshire Immigrant Stories Project is expected to pave the way for a Public Humanities Center at BCC. BCC is one of only three colleges in the Commonwealth chosen to pilot this groundbreaking new initiative.


Charles Park
Assistant Professor of English at BCC & Berkshire Immigrant Stories Project Director

Facebook logo Follow Berkshire Immigrant Stories on Facebook.

We are all immigrants. 

That we are here means that someone made a decision to come to this place from elsewhere. If you are an immigrant, or the child or grandchild of an immigrant, we want to help you share your story.

Share your story.

Add to the ongoing story of immigration in the Berkshires. Take a photo of an object from your family history and tell the story of the object.

The Tenement Museum in New York has created an online exhibit featuring immigration and migration narratives. Visit to upload your image and story — step-by-step instructions [PDF] are available to assist you. Please use the tag Berkshire_Immigrant_Stories.

The stories of how we got here will be part of a Public Humanities Center project from BCC and Mass Humanities. View the growing collection of Berkshire Immigrant Stories!

Share Your Story

Free Workshops

We are here to help. BCC and the Berkshire Athenaeum provided hands-on help with photographing objects, writing stories, and submitting them. These workshops were free and open to the public.

Berkshire Athenaeum, 1 Wendell Ave., Pittsfield

  • February 23, 2017 at 6 p.m.
  • March 2, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Berkshire Community College — Jonathan Edwards Library, 1350 West St., Pittsfield

  • April 6, 2017 at 12:15 p.m.

2017 Literary Events

Martin EspadaMartin Espada, author

Poetry Reading & Presentation
April 21 at noon
Berkshire Community College (Main Campus)

A finalist for the Pulitzer prize, he has authored more than twenty books, won many awards, and has been interviewed by Bill Moyers, PBS evening news.

Martín Espada will visit BCC for a poetry reading and presentation. Called by Sandra Cisneros “the Pablo Neruda of North American poets, “Martín Espada has published almost twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist, and translator. His new collection of poems from Norton is called Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016). His many honors include the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. 

Weeping Under This Same MoonJana Laiz, author

Weekly Book Discussions with the Author
Thursdays from 2:30–3:30 p.m. — April 6, 13 & 20
Jonathan Edwards Library, Berkshire Community College (Main Campus)

Special Presentation: A Life Working In & Writing About Immigration
Thursday, April 27 from 2:30–3:45 p.m.
Jonathan Edwards Library, Berkshire Community College (Main Campus)

An award winning author and Writer-In-Residence at Herman Melville's Arrowhead, Jana is a longtime advocate for immigrants, and has taught ESOL in the Berkshires.

The BCC Library and Jana Laiz hosted book discussions of her book Weeping Under This Same Moon on Thursdays, April 6, 13, and 20 from 2:30–3:30 p.m. On April 20, BCC Food Services prepared two very special Vietnamese lunch offerings in the cafeteria — a Pho Ga (a Vietnamese traditional soup) and Banh Mi (a Vietnamese sandwich).

On April 27, Jana will speak about Weeping Under This Same Moon, the writing process, and her most recent book on immigrant voices. Participation in the book discussion, while encouraged, is not necessary in order to attend this special presentation by the author. A reception will follow in the Library.

Project partners include: The Berkshire Athenaeum, The BCC Writing Center, The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, The Oral History Center at BCC, Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, and The Working Cities Initiative.

This project is made possible by a grant from Mass Humanities and the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH).