Washington, DC – What started off as a casual conversation on the importance of preserving the Iranian culture for future generations has slowly taken shape into an organized group known as the Iranian American Community Center (IACC). The brainchild of Paymaun and Bita Lotfi, Khashyar and Sepideh Montazami, Forough Parvizian-Yazdani, Soheila Rostami and Kambiz and Neda Yazdani, the Community Center is meant to be just that – a place where genuine friendships will be formed and strengthened, a stronger sense of an Iranian-American identity will take root, and cultural events will be celebrated, thus keeping our ancient traditions alive for current and future generations.
The IACC will be a valuable permanent resource aimed at improving and providing for the Iranian-American community. It will give Iranian Americans the opportunity to share a piece of their personal story with their children, who will in turn share it with their children, thereby preserving our culture and identity for future generations. A list of envisioned services offered at the IACC include an educational center for Persian classes, a senior center for elderly socializing, a resource center for legal, medical, social work referrals and other services, and an athletic center for team sports.
IACC is a non-political, non-religious organization established in the state of Virginia that has filed for 501(c)(3) non-profit status. “It’s important that we treat this not as a project, but as an organization dedicated to serving the Iranian-American community. We believe in its value and are committed to its sustainability into perpetuity,” says Khashyar Montazami. The IACC Planning Committee started their meetings in August 2010. Since then, they have done extensive research and market analysis in order to have a clear plan of action for its development.
Additionally, they’ve embarked on an ambitious educational and fundraising campaign to garner support – both in-kind and financial – for the creation of the center. “According to our analysis, we need at least $800,000 in order to break ground or purchase an existing site for the school. While this may be a difficult goal, I’m confident it can be reached. Now is the time to come together for the greater good of our community,” says Bita Lotfi.
So far, IACC has held and participated in cultural events, such as Mehregan and Shabeh Yalda, to raise awareness and funds. The next scheduled event is a Norooz celebration taking place on March 13 from 5 – 8 p.m. at the Westwood Country Club in Vienna, VA. Once completed, IACC will be a member-driven organization run by a Board of Directors. “We want our members to have a say in how the IACC is run and the programs that it offers. This kind of collective voice will help ensure that it is properly maintained and promoted,” says Neda Yazdani.
NIAC applauds the leadership and dedication exhibited by the IACC Planning Committee. This is the perfect example of how a few motivated individuals with an admirable idea can produce remarkable change for the community.
*IACC logo designed by Soosan Joon Silanee.