Interview Date: August 7, 2019
Interview Location: Morton Grove Public Library
Interviewer: Chad Comello
Transcriber: Amy Chow
Duration: 55 minutes
Dilnaz Waraich has lived in Morton Grove since 1983. Born in Hyderabad, India, she migrated to Chicago as a two-year-old in 1972 with her father, mother, and sister after her father got a work visa. With her hardworking and college-educated parents forced to work menial jobs to support the family—which Dilnaz considers common for a traditional immigrant family—she and her sister were “latchkey kids” who rarely socialized but still enjoyed the comforts of home and reading. (Not so much seeing Jaws as a six-year-old.) She attended Chicago Public Schools until age 13, when the family moved to Morton Grove and she started at Maine East High School.
In this interview, Dilnaz talks about growing up first-generation Indian American, the benefits and challenges of living with in-laws, and a traumatizing yet formative experience in third grade that inspired her to become an educator. She also discusses her work as chair of the Muslim Community Center’s Interfaith & Outreach Committee, challenging herself and others to be change agents, and how Morton Grove has evolved from a homogeneous community to an inclusive “potluck” of cultures and faiths.