Advertisement Close

A Day to Remember at MLK Library for Heritage Month! 

posted on: May 1, 2024

By: Malak Hassouna / Arab America Contributing Writer 

On Saturday, April 27, 2024, we welcomed over 300 people to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library to celebrate National Arab American Heritage Month with a vibrant afternoon of cultural exploration! The event included a fashion show that showcased the beauty and diversity of Arab American style. Energetic music and dance performances featuring the DMV’s premier all-female dabke ensemble, “Malikat Al Dabke.” Their dynamic routines blend traditional and modern styles, celebrating Arab heritage within an American context. Engaging visual arts exhibits by local Arab American artists.

The event started with diverse tables from Sudan to Palestine, Morocco, and many more to show the region’s diversity. You found various activities and pieces from each culture at the tables, from henna by Sudanese artists to an Arabian night brought by Morocco’s setup. Every country that presented itself had more than just facts about the country but an immersive experience of the culture, whether it was educating you about the food, the history, or clothing. Each table took you to the land of its people. It was truly remarkable to see the Arab world brought together in just one place to celebrate our rich heritage. As similar as we are as people, yet how different, each country is on its own. The event was enjoyable for adults and children, who had plenty of activities to participate in. From a table to teach them how to write their names in Arabic to the Dabke workshop by Malikat. 

The Dabke workshop transformed the room with joy and happiness. The all-female troupe led participants of all ages, bringing heritage from across the levant to the library, which serves students of all educational backgrounds.  

Next up was a fantastic multicultural band that sang their hearts out for an incredibly lively audience. Tying in music from all parts of the region, from Lebanese to Egyptian to Palestinian. The songs were not the only part celebrating Arab culture; all the instruments were also. The oud and tabla filled the air as Hajar and Laith led the band in 10 songs. 


The night was far from over than the fashion show illustrating seven countries: Sudan, Yemen, Morocco, Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, and Palestine. From the vibrant colors of Sudan and Morocco to the understated simplicity found in the men of Yemen and Qatar. The crowd roared as each model brought their heritage to share with the audience.

The night came to a wrap with an incredible performance from Milikat Al Dabke. They are not called the queens of Dabke for nothing. The all-female Troop demonstrated why they dominate in more ways than one. They, by far, have the most put-together choreography I have ever seen in my entire life. Not only that, but it was so empowering to see them take their heritage attention to their own hands and create a mix of different types of dabke. The trip also engaged with the audience multiple times, encouraging them to yell to their steps or at the end when they gave a heartfilling speech regarding art as resistance. 

That night at the Martin Luther King Library, we bring another incredible Arab American Heritage Month. It was incredible to see over 300 people from all walks of Earth come and unite at the last event that we hosted for the year to see Arab culture and their local community presented by some incredible leaders in the DMV community. Whether it was the amazing artwork or the Multicultural band that brought us not only songs from the classics but a great mashup to remember or from a great lesson on how to dabke. The union of everyone that night was a great act of resistance, demonstrating that the community will forever hold its culture and heritage dear to heart and will continue to share them with the world. What was your favorite part of Heritage Month? 

Check out Arab America’s blog here!