Berkshire Immigrant Stories Project


Berkshire Community College (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.

Contact Us

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

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 Your Story 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

Past Events

  • 2018 Events
    We Need to Talk Day

    Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, 12 – 4 p.m.
    Berkshire Dream Center (475 Tyler St. in Pittsfield)

    Free and Open to All (FORUM event)

    We Need to Talk Day is a celebration of immigration — a platform for community members to talk in front of the community, to tell their story, ask questions and start discussions. It is an opportunity for organizations to explain their services and for music and poetry.


    • Berkshire Immigrants — Telling Their Story
    • WordxWord — Poetry artists
    • Jeff Lowenstein and Barbara Brand from BIO — Sensitive Locations and Sanctuary
    • Arabic Music by Zay-Tunes (w/ Bob Davis, Felicia Tzipora Sloin, Joe Blumenthal, Dan Muscat, Sharon Arslanian, Amanda Turk and Matt Davis)
    • Marisa Massery from Music in Common — JAMMS intercultural workshop in Pittsfield
    • Donna Morelli from Community Legal Aid — Know Your Rights
    • Shaitia Spruell from SoarMA — Learn how to save for college
    • Helen Haerhan Moon, City Council for the Morningside Neighborhood — Diversity in Local Politics
    • Paloma from Jacob's Pillow
    • and more music from Zay-Tunes!

    You can write your Berkshire Immigrant Story at the event with the support and help of our bilingual volunteers.
    Please get in touch with email Toni Buckley if you are interested in volunteering at this event.

  • 2017 Events
    Film Screening
    Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness

    October 4, 2017 at 3:30 p.m.
    Kimball Farms Auditorium, 235 Walker Street, Lenox, MA

    RSVP: 413-637-7043

    Not In Our Town Logo

    Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness is a one-hour documentary about a town coming together to take action after anti-immigrant violence devastates the community. In 2008, a series of attacks against Latino residents of Patchogue, New York culminate with the murder of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived in the Long Island village for 13 years.

    Over a two-year period, the story follows Mayor Paul Pontieri, the victim's brother, Joselo Lucero, and Patchogue residents as they openly address the underlying causes of the violence, work to heal divisions, and begin taking steps to ensure everyone in their village will be safe and respected.

    Learn more about Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness and watch the trailer on the official website.

    The film will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Gwendolyn Van Sant of Multicultural Bridge. The panelists will be:

    • Steve O'Brien, Lenox Chief of Police
    • Eleanore Velez, Director, Multicultural Center of Berkshire Community College
    • Liliana Bermudez, Latin-American Community Activist
    • Dr. Charles Park, Director, Berkshire Community College Public Humanities Center Faculty Fellow
    • Ananda Timpane, Director, Railroad Street Youth Project
    Free Workshops

    We are here to help. In the spring of 2017, BCC and the Berkshire Athenaeum provided hands-on help with photographing objects, writing stories, and submitting them to the Tenement Museum website. These workshops were free and open to the public.

    Martin Espada, Author

    Poetry Reading and Presentation
    April 2017
    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.

    Martin Espada

    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.

    Jana Laiz, Author

    Weekly Book Discussions with the Author
    April 2017
    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. 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). Jana also spoke about Weeping Under This Same Moon, the writing process, and her most recent book on immigrant voices.

    Weeping Under This Same Moon

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).