PACC Recognized as Best Source of Quality Programs
By Amjad Noorani
Pictures above: Glimpses of some of the PACC activities to bring the community together and promote the image of Pakistan
There is no better place than the SF Bay Area and Silicon Valley to experience the best of American cultural diversity. In the midst of the colorful concoction of national and cultural identities is a young organization which has firmly planted its feet in San Jose – and is rapidly growing both in its support base and platform of cultural offerings every few weeks, or so it seems.
Founded in 2007 and not quite three years old yet, the Pakistani American Culture Center has also found its place in the hearts of the Pakistani-American community of the Bay Area/Silicon Valley metropolis and has deservedly earned its ‘seal of approval’ as a reliable organizer of quality cultural programs.
Just last year, despite the economic pains the country was going through, PACC pulled off some fantastic and financially successful events. From the traditional Pakistan Day and Independence Day picnics to a well-attended ‘Basant’ festival and kite flying celebration, PACC did it all with well-executed planning and volunteer team work. And, that’s not all; there were several music and entertainment programs, ongoing Urdu classes and shaa’iree sessions, chess club meetings and competitions, community meetings and workshops, art and photo displays, and the popular monthly karaoke nights.
The Independence Day picnic in August is a regular annual event that features Pakistan and US flags fluttering side by side, delicious ethnic foods for sale, live music and a good time enjoyed by all. PACC also plans to continue with a March 23rd Pakistan Day program.
As this writing goes to press, PACC in close collaboration with India Community Center – its South Asian giant counterpart – has efficiently put together the 2010 Basant and ‘Jashn-e-Baharan’ (spring) Festival at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale on Sunday May 16. (Please go to www.pacc-ca.org for event information on the PACC website).
The trio of spark plugs that keep the PACC engine motoring along without a hiccup are its devoted President Farrukh Shah Khan, Treasurer Asghar Aboobaker, and Director-President Elect Noreen Ahson, supported by a dedicated Board of Trustees. Currently housed in rental premises in a technology business park in San Jose, the PACC Board and leadership hope to have their own space and facilities some day, perhaps in the next three to five years. The business at hand is to continue on the current path of providing successful events to earn its place as an indispensable icon for a proud Pakistani community, a growing demographic that is ripe and ready for affordable family programs with high quality cultural and entertainment value for all ages and tastes.
Farrukh Shah Khan of Campbell feels that PACC has created identity and enrichment for the migrant and the American-born Pakistani. "It's about time to have a place of our own," says Farrukh, “a place where children can learn our languages, a place to relax and have fun, a center which offers programs for seniors, youth and all ages between”. Farrukh rightfully believes that the cultural activities and fun programs should be driven by the interest of the PACC community.
Serving the needs of the community is also important to Asghar Aboobaker. “For PACC to thrive and be sustainable, it has to serve a critical mass of the community”, says Asghar and adds: “Of a total population of 10,000 Pakistani’s in the service area, we could draw from about half that many”.
Referring to the popular Urdu classes, Noreen Ahson says, “Teaching Urdu has to be made interesting and interactive for kids and we are doing that. There’s also very strong desire among non-Pakistanis for learning Urdu, especially those interested in shaa’iree and music. So PACC is also working on developing Urdu programs for youth and adults”.
On the subject of value-added services, Abdulrahman Rafiq of San Jose has this to say: “People have to live their lives in balance and there is more to life than just faith. Take music, for example. PACC provides a venue for Pakistanis who yearn for good musical entertainment”.
For Sabahat Ashraf of Fremont, a cultural center adds to enrichment in a child’s development. "We need to do more around the Pakistani identity because our kids need to learn more about our culture”.
Pakistani American Culture Center (PACC) is a non-profit, non-religious and non-political organization providing education in Pakistani languages, history and culture to Pakistani Americans and open to all communities. Please visit www.PACC-CA.org for more information, or call (408) 426-4481. Amjad.Noorani@tcfusa.org 650.793.6364