ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION:
Afghan Cultural Society of MN is the only State registered Afghan American (non political or religious affiliated) organization in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area that provides community outreach activities related to multicultural education for the purposes of promoting positive race relations in the Twin Cities community.
MISSION: To promote the Afghan culture and serve the MN community. We are dedicated to preserving our cultural heritage and bridging the gap between Afghanistan, the Afghans living in the Twin Cities and fellow Minnesotans. We want to pass along our cultural heritage from one generation to the next and share it through various mediums such as, events, lectures, presentations, exhibitions and classes.OUR INCEPTION STORY:
I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and moved to the United States when I was under 10. I consider myself as a Minnesota native. I am a byproduct of Minneapolis public schools, with management experience from fortune 500 companies and academic experience from the University of St. Catherine and St. Mary’s.
While growing up in Minnesota in the early 90’s, my connection to Afghanistan and the Afghan community was bleak. There was no support system for Afghans, let alone role models and women leaders. The void of not knowing my heritage led me on a self-discovery and self education mission in order to stay connected with my culture. The more I learned, the more I fell in love in, and I now want to share it with the rest of my community, because at one point in my life, Afghanistan was nothing but a big calamity of central Asia.
As a parent and a semi accomplished adult, I felt the pressing need to give our women and children a platform and place to call their own and that is how this organization was born.
Some of our past events include
- Held our 1st art exhibition in Minnesota in November of 2018 titled Afghanistan Revisited.
- Our plan is to grow over the next 2 years and provide various community projects and events to promote positive race relations in the Twin Cities community, by bridging the gap between Afghanistan, the Afghans living in the Twin Cities and fellow Minnesotans.
- We want to pass along our cultural heritage from one generation to the next and share it through various mediums such as, events, lectures, presentations, exhibitions and classes.
:ABOUT THE FOUNDER:
My name is Amina Baha, I am originally from Afghanistan, I was under 9 when my family moved from Peshawar Pakistan to United States of America. We first lived in Phoenix AZ for about 6 months, and like many Afghans, decided we would move closer to family and friends we knew, so my father decided to move to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In the 90’s in Minnesota, it was difficult growing up as a young Muslim Afghan girl, because there was not much diversity in the upper Midwest at that time. I often struggled to fit in and the only Afghans I knew were family and my parent’s friends. Most of their children were either younger or older than me, so I grew up alone, as my parents were very protective of me hanging out with anyone that they did not know. I spent my childhood reading, writing and watching Bollywood movies on VHS. I would think about what it would feel like to be around more Afghans and what it would be like to be in Afghanistan. Then, luckily Somali’s started to immigrate to Minnesota, and I identified with them as a Muslim and made many friends, but I still missed my culture, traditions and most of all my language as I never really fit anywhere.
As time went on, I became more interested in our history, culture, traditions because I missed/lacked it while growing up. Everything from our food, hospitality, music to clothes all appealed to me and my only chance at it was thru books, televisions and stories my parents and relatives told. 20 years later, that passion and love for my country, its people is still there. I waited for someone in our city to start something and make an Afghan community. It didn’t happen, after having kids, I did not want them to feel and miss out on our beautiful language, culture and traditions, so I started the Afghan Cultural Society of MN.
- Currently planning on celebrating our 100 year Afghan independence day event on August 18, 2019.
These are all events thru which my children and others (Afghan & non Afghan) will have the opportunity to know about a side of our country that the mass media fails to cover. It is difficult as a woman and someone who hasn’t lived in Afghanistan to carry thru such a big responsibility while being employed and having a family. However, I feel it must be done and am doing so.
Aside from my work on improving and creating an Afghan community in my state, I work in Healthcare IT managing electronic Healthcare Record related projects that impact physicians, nurses and other care providers. I received my undergraduate degree in Computer Science, Masters level work in Healthcare Administration as well as multiple certifications in project management and information technology. I have always been involved in community service and have served on boards, volunteers with masjids, Islamic and non-Islamic humanitarian efforts. My vision for Afghan Cultural Society of MN is the be place where all are welcome and can experience the hospitality of Afghans, find out about our history, culture, food and focus on the contributions of Afghans in the local and national community.Organization Links:Facebook PageAfghan Entertainment & CultureProfessional Links:LinkedInShero Nomination & BoardBoard Memeber - Alexandra House