This interview is conducted with Besma Coda, born and raised in a southern town of Iraq. She identifies herself as part of the Chaldean community, a Christian group in Iraq. Besma is the co-founder and chief operating officer of the Chaldean Middle Eastern Social Services, which became a part of San Ysidro Health. Besma played a crucial part in San Ysidro Health by introducing the behavioral health program and acting as a program manager. The interview talked about Besma’s upbringing, where she was in contact with diverse cultures ever since she was a child, and the turmoils that her family experienced being the first few families of the Chaldean community to arrive in the US. She aspires to help the immigrant community by starting organizations that help them transition into US society. The interview covers Arab communities’ immigration experience during the 80s, the influence of the pandemic on the Chaldean community, the diverse cultures in Arab countries, and general life lessons during times of turbulence. The interview was conducted via Zoom to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The interview was conducted by YiCheng Gu, a first-year sociology major at UCSD who is interested in understanding the Arab community and their immigration experience to the US.
June 1, 2022
Besma Coda Oral History
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