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Herndon to support Pakistan Heritage Day in push for more cultural events

Town of Herndon government offices (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Town of Herndon is offering financial support for Pakistan Heritage Day, a celebratory event organized by town council member Naila Alam and the nonprofit Global Beat Foundation.

At a Tuesday (Oct. 10) meeting, the Herndon Town Council voted to approve $2,015 for the event that will take place at the Herndon Community Center on Oct. 21 — a contribution that includes waiving $1,005 in facility rental fees.

The move is part of a renewed effort by the town council to support and expand more cultural events throughout the Town of Herndon.

While council members expressed support of the overall strategic mission, some called for clearer guidelines and protocols to approve funding for future events.

Councilmember Cesar del Aguila characterized the town’s financial support as an effort to promote the town’s equity goals. Since the town lacks the bandwidth to lead cultural programming, del Aguila said it should step up and boost events organized by local residents.

“We all benefit when we can diversify ourselves and celebrate the diversity of our town,” del Aguila said. “This is a start.”

But Vice Mayor Clark Hedrick said the decision should not merely be characterized as a vote for or against equity.

“I think we are in sticky territory,” Hedrick said.

Councilmember Keven LeBlanc said he was concerned that a portion of the funds would cover floral decorations, adding that it was unclear how the nonprofit organization was supporting the event.

“Every organization should have some skin in the game,” LeBlanc said.

Councilmember Donielle Scherff was dismayed that a more defined mechanism to approve similar funding requests was not established. However, she said she felt comfortable supporting the event since it is less than two weeks away and the town was unable to establish criteria prior to the vote.

The town council removed an age restriction for event entry. The event flyer previously said only attendees age 18 and above were permitted at the event.

The approval came after vigorous debate at an Oct. 3 work session.

Council members stressed the need to verify that events supported by the town are focused on cross-cultural exchange and do not veer into religious celebrations.

The event is the second this year supported by the Town of Herndon. A Juneteenth celebration organized by Arts Herndon also received financial support from the town.

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