A mutli-media museum celebrating more than 100 years of the Punjabi community in the US opened in the community-dominated Yuba City in California Saturday. A brainchild of the Punjabi American Heritage Society (PAHS) the multimedia museum the first of its kind in the US highlights the contribution of the Punjabi community to the social fabric of their adopted land.
``The museum is a multi-media record of the challenges and successes of generations of Punjabi Americans. It documents the hardships they faced on their arrival in California in the early twentieth century and their journey to becoming American," said prominent community leader Jasbir Kang.
In his message to the community on the occasion California Governor Jerry Brown said "Showcasing the story of the Punjabi American and South Asian migration to the United States is a valuable and needed resource for current and future generations.
``I congratulate all the individuals and families along with the Punjabi American Heritage Society of Yuba City for their dedication and hard work for the successful completion of this project."
California assembly members Jim Nielsen and Dan Logue, County Supervisors Jim Whiteaker, Larry Munger and Stan Cleveland Yuba City Council member Tej Mann and former Yuba City mayors Kash Gill and Rory Ramirez were among the hundreds who attended the opening ceremony.
In a press release the organisers said: ``Since 9/11 Sikhs and South Asians have borne the brunt of mistaken identity by racist attacks assaults and even murder. Through this exhibit PAHS tells the story of Punjabis that have a long tradition of contributing to the success of their local communities."
``The story of the Punjabis, the Sikhs and the South Asians is the same as that of the Irish, the Italians and the Polish before them; it is an American story.
Yuba City was one of the first destinations of Punjabi immigrants to the US in the early 20th century.
Known as 'Punjab da Pind', the city has the largest concentration of the Punjabi community in the US and boasts many gurdwaras, temples and even a mosque.