YUBA CITY, CA - On March 31, 2012, the Punjabi American Heritage Society(PAHS) was proud to unveil
‘Becoming American’, a permanent exhibit at the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County. Over
300 people, including elected officials, donors, sponsors and PAHS members gathered to tour the multimedia
exhibit for the first time.
“The exhibit is a multimedia record of the challenges and success of generations of Punjabi Americans,”
explained Dr. Jasbir Kang of PAHS. “It documents the hardships accompanying their arrival in California in
the early twentieth century and their journey in becoming American. 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
Assemblymember Jim Nielsen addressed the attendees and fondly described his long friendship with Punjabi
American community. He related his experiences travelling to India and agreed that the Yuba City area was
truly the ‘Punjab of America.’ Assemblymember Dan Logue, who authored Sikh Appreciation Month in
2010, also congratulated PAHS on their achievements.
“The shade we enjoy today is due to the efforts of those that planted the tree long ago,” said Davinder Deol
of PAHS. “This exhibit is our thanks to all those that endured and persevered so that we could be a part of
the American dream.” She elaborated that the PAHS Museum Committee raised approximately $250,000
over seven years as they imagined, developed and constructed the exhibit.
Along with Mrs. Deol, the committee members included Dr. Jasbir Kang, Sarbjit Singh Johl, Kulwant Singh
Johl, Hitpal Singh Deol and Gurmeet Kaur Sidhu. “The Committee provided each donor with a
commemorative book at the unveiling,” said Mrs. Deol. “Included in the book is a memorial to the late Ted
Sibia. He was an inspiration to our community and the source of much of the research that was relied upon
in compiling the exhibit.”
To begin the unveiling and reception program, attendees enjoyed a moving rendition of the national anthem
by 16 year old Harkiren Kaur Everest. Her late grandfather Hari Singh Everest was featured in a short
documentary illustrating the oral history of Punjabi Americans in the Yuba-Sutter region. Violinist and
internet sensation Raginder ‘Violinder’ Momi also entertained the attendees and received a standing ovation.
Also attending the exhibit unveiling and reception were County Supervisors Jim Whiteaker, Larry Munger
and Stan Cleveland, City Councilman Tej Mann, and former Yuba City Mayors Kash Gill and Rory Ramirez.
Special thanks were given to Gerry Sandhu for his tireless efforts in creating www.punjabipioneers.com
which serves as an international gateway to the Punjabi Community of the Yuba-Sutter region.
The PAHS Museum Committee continues to work on updating the exhibit and is soliciting contributions
from the community. A coffee table book is being produced with the assistance of Lea Terhune, a former
CNN News and Span magazine editor.
The ‘Becoming American’ exhibit is located at the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County, 1333
Butte House Road, Yuba City, CA 95993. The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm,
and Weekends,12 noon - 4:00 pm. Admission is free.
There are more pictures of the event here.
Newspaper clipping from 1899