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Oral History Interview with Shahana Hanif, April 17, 2018

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Shahana Hanif discusses growing up in a Bangladeshi American family in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn, including her relationship with her sister, the impact strict gender roles had on their religious educations and social lives, receiving a diagnosis of lupus as a teenager, and her subsequent navigation of health and accessibility limitations. She also talks about her exploration of intersectionality and activism in college, especially regarding her disability, religion, and race. In addition, she speaks about internet activism and specific organizations and causes she became involved in, especially Naree O Shongothok, the Muslim Writers Collective, the Kensington Stewards, and a local ladies' club. Interview conducted by Liz H. Strong.

Biographical / Historical

Shahana Hanif was born in 1991 in Brooklyn. She was raised in the Bangladeshi community in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn. After a health crisis as a teenager led to a diagnosis of lupus, she went on to earn a bachelor's degree in women's and gender studies from Brooklyn College. While there, she became involved in intersectional activism and community organizing, especially with the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) and Naree Shongothok: Bangladeshi Women Organizing for Social Change. She also worked as Director of Organizing and Community Engagement for New York City council member Brad Lander.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview can be accessed onsite at the Center for Brooklyn History's Othmer Library and online at the Oral History Portal.

Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201