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"A historical moment" for Hamtramck's growing BanglaTown

Nov 6, 2015

The back of a decorative rickshaw inside the Bangladeshi American Public Affairs Committee office.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder paid a visit to Hamtramck’s BanglaTown Friday, to officially open the Bangladeshi American Public Affairs Committee’s new headquarters there.

That Bangladeshi community is aiming for a higher profile among Metro Detroit’s immigrant enclaves.

Snyder again proclaimed himself “the most pro-immigrant Governor in the country.” And he says Bangladeshi-Americans are exactly the kind of immigrants Michigan needs.

“It’s a great entrepreneurial community, [with] many professionals,” Snyder said. “This is an opportunity to watch economic growth in our state, more job creation, and great people helping one another.”

Esahn Taqbeem founded the Bangladeshi American Public Affairs Committee.

Taqbeem says BanglaTown, centered around Conant Avenue and spanning the Detroit-Hamtramck border, has been around for awhile.

“Now we’re trying to open it up to the mainstream,” Taqbeem said. “We’d like to see a sign in I-75 saying 'Banglatown: This way.'”

Taqbeem describes the BAPAC as a bipartisan civil rights organization, with a focus on increasing Bangaldeshi-American participation in civic life and the political process.

Hamtramck, a historically-Polish enclave,  just elected what’s believed to be the country’s first majority-Muslim city council. Three members are now Bangladeshi-Americans.