Interview Date: September 5, 2019
Interview Location: Morton Grove Public Library
Interviewer: Chad Comello
Duration: 75 minutes
Transcriber: Steve Kornstein
Samina Hussain has lived in Morton Grove since 2002. Born in the small village of Banauli, India, she migrated to the United States at one year old after her self-made physician father got a residency at Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago. Her 19-year-old immigrant mother struggled with her father’s long hours, the foreign culture, and brutal weather, but found solace in the beginnings of Chicago’s now-bustling Indian American presence on Devon Avenue. Samina’s early memories revolve around the Muslim Community Center—which her father helped to establish and where she gained lifelong friends—and being a good student driven to succeed by her education-focused parents.
In this interview, Samina talks about getting a somewhat traditional arranged marriage, the amazing growth of MCC over the years, and why it’s so important to have educators who are as culturally diverse as their students. She also discusses visiting family in India (which she describes as less Bollywood, more National Geographic), her constant desire to learn, and serving on many community organizations, including the Morton Grove Community Relations Commission, the District 67 school board, and MCC Academy Council.