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Oral History Interview with Fatima Shama, October 2, 2018

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Fatima Shama discusses her work in healthcare advocacy with the Greater Brooklyn Health Coalition and with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration. She expands on her interactions with Mayor Bloomberg, building connections between Muslim New Yorkers and local government officials, and her memories of early efforts in the campaign to add the Eid holidays to the local public school calendar. She also touches on her feelings about the religiously-motivated surveillance by the New York Police Department and about her work going forward. Fatima Shama was also interviewed on September 17, 2018 for this collection. Interview conducted by Liz H. Strong.

Biographical / Historical

Fatima Shama was born in 1973 in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx. She earned a bachelor of the arts degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton and a master of public administration from Baruch College's School of Public Affairs Executive Program in New York City. After college, she worked with the Arab American Family Support Center and the Greater Brooklyn Health Coalition to improve New Yorkers' access to services like healthcare and education. She served in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration from 2006-2014, first as Senior Education Policy Advisor and then as Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs. During her tenure, she worked to build stronger ties between Muslim communities and the city government. After leaving the administration, she became Executive Director of the Fresh Air Fund, a nonprofit organization focused on providing low-income children in New York City with access to nature.

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