The Pakistani American Youth Society (PAYS) celebrated the National Youth Organization of Pakistan’s 25th Year Silver Jubilee on Saturday at their office, 1001 Newkirk Avenue.
The crowd consisted of PAYS members elected and community officials, members from Pakistani Law Enforcement Society (PALS) and the chief guest, Consul General of Pakistan Raja Ali Ijaz. Those in attendance shared stories and words of wisdom under the organization motto, “Unite. Engage. Rise.”
Joshua Pierre, the 42nd Assembly District Democratic leader represented City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park). Pierre helped distribute awards at the ceremony and shared Bichotte’s and his empathy as Haitian Americans for the Pakistani American community.
“We understand. We have the experience that all communities that come to the United States they go through hard times,” he said. “Your strength and your unity will take you to that better place.”
Another member of the Pakistani American community,Nasir Saleem, officer for the NYPD for the past 25 years choked up during his speech in an effort to describe his gratitude for the community support.
“Last year after the big election, I said I will not give up,” he said. “Here comes the new president. I changed my mind, I will [work] for the next 25 years,” said Saleem choking back tears and laughter.
According to the founders, “PAYS mission is to strengthen and progressively advance socially and economically through youth empowerment, communication, development, leadership and education.”
PAYS currently has over one hundred members from ages 10 to 31 years old. They are looking to expand their organization and open college chapters for students to get involved.
An example of a successful Pakistani youth was shown with eighteen year old award winner, published author and CEO of Rep 21 Media, Sadaf Ayaz who spoke.
“In order to create actual change, you have to have a seat at the table,” said Ayaz. “Most of the time minority groups do not have that, which is why we really appreciate what PAYS has done in creating a place and a safe society for young Americans in this community.”