Bangladesh flag Flying High on Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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Philadelphia is the birthplace of the USA. The flags of various countries flying on poles lining both sides of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia’s signature tree-lined boulevard in the city’s museum district, symbolizes America’s heritage of being a country constituted of immigrants from various countries all over the globe who live in harmony. Today, the flag of Bangladesh flies in that select group on a pole that has a marker plate identifying the country’s name written in both English and Bangla.

It was a dream of Bangladeshi Americans living in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs for many years. However, the formal process required legislation at the City Council level and despite many attempts in the past by area Bangladeshis, success eluded the eager applicants. Finally in September 2007 the Bangladesh Association of Delaware Valley (BADV), one of the oldest Bangladeshi American organizations in USA, established in 1971 during the liberation war of Bangladesh, launched its own efforts.

The then President of BADV, Riza Quabili, initiated an official application at the suggestion of Dr. Ibrul Chowdhury and with the guidance of Dr. Nina Ahmed. The effort also received support from the office of the Honorable Congressman Chaka Fattah. The process required logistical support from the City Council members and continual effort and lobbying by the applicants throughout the remaining months of the year until the new Mayor-elect, the Honorable Michael Nutter assumed office on January 2008. The lobbying efforts were intensified when Dr. Ahmed became the new chairman of the Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs. At the same time other Bangladeshi organizations also stepped up their support for the “Flag” application process.

In June 2008 Resolution # 080599 was introduced by Councilwoman at Large, Blondell Reynolds-Brown (a friend of Chaka Fattah), “calling on the City of Philadelphia to include the flag of Bangladesh in the Display of Flags on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway”. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the City Council. Today Bangladeshis can take pride as they view the flag of their home country while traversing the Parkway.

Excerpted, April 2016
(Written by Dr Ziauddin Ahmed October 28, 2010)