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NUSACC Supports National Arab American Heritage Month

posted on: Apr 29, 2021

President Joe Biden: “The Arab American Community is Essential to the Fabric of our Nation”

NUSACC’s NUSAAC’s David Hamod “Every One of Us is Ambassador for the Arab-American Community”

April is National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM), a celebration of Arab-Americans’ contributions to U.S. culture, politics, business, education, and cuisine.  Organized by the Arab America Foundation, and supported by the National U.S. – Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC), NAAHM has brought together thousands of Americans of Arab descent and friends of the Arab-American community.  This year, over 100 proclamations were issued by state and local government authorities across the United States, including more than 30 Governors.  (To see these proclamations, click here.)

As Heritage Month winds down, a special event was organized on Sunday, April 25, to showcase Arab-American leaders and friends.  The most prominent of these friends is Joe Biden, President of the United States, who sent a letter in support of National Arab American Heritage Month.

Letter of Support from President Joe Biden

President Biden noted, “The Arab American community is essential to the fabric of our Nation, and I am honored to be a part of this celebration of Arab American culture, heritage, and contributions to American society.  The Arab American community exemplifies so much of what our country stands for: hard work, resilience, compassion, and generosity.  In nearly every arena of our society, Arab Americans bring dynamic energy, boundless creativity, and a love of family and neighbors that have always defined who we are as Americans.”

Biden went on to say, “Diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and it is essential that we continue celebrating, promoting, and educating others about the myriad ways that the Arab people have advanced human civilization and contributed to the well-being of our Nation.  I applaud the mission of organizations like the Arab America Foundation, which empowers those who have been historically marginalized to pursue their American dream no matter the obstacles.”

Biden concluded, “Through uncertainty, struggle, and triumph, your organization has continued to enrich, unite, and guide the Arab American community, ensuring that all Arab Americans have a voice and feel connected to their heritage.”  (To see the full letter from President Biden, click here.)

NUSACC Contributions to Heritage Month

David Hamod, President & CEO of NUSACC, was one of two community leaders invited to give remarks.  (The other was Dr. James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute.)  Hamod noted, “A chamber of commerce like ours serves as a bridge, connecting cultures and connecting more than 50,000 businesses around the United States and across the Arab world.  A chamber helps to support the work of tens of thousands of small & medium-sized enterprises, Mom & Pop companies that form the backbone of the U.S. economy.” 

He continued, “So many Arab-American families got their start in the New World (America) as street vendors or running microenterprises, like general stores.  I know that mine did – over a century ago – in the State of Iowa, home of America’s Mother Mosque.  Whether you come from the Heartland – as I do – or anywhere else across this great country, our proud heritage follows us wherever we go.”

Sometimes, Hamod said, Arab culture turns up in the unexpected places, like city names: Arabia, Nebraska; Bagdad, California; Lebanon, Pennsylvania; Andalusia, Alabama; Cairo, Illinois; Elkader, Iowa (named after Emir Abdelkader Al-Jazairi, the Founding Father of modern Algeria).  “Our culture is everywhere,” Hamod noted, “but sometimes we don’t give it the attention that it deserves.  With consciousness-raising  events like today’s webinar – reaching out especially to our youth – that will change, InShaAllah.”

“In my job, I have the privilege to work with Ambassadors every day,” Hamod concluded.  “But remember this: Every one of us is an ‘ambassador’ for the Arab-American community.  So, be LOUD, be PROUD, and be the best diplomat that you can be for our people!”

Driving Force Behind Heritage Month

The husband-and-wife-team of Warren and Amal David has been the driving force behind National Arab American Heritage Month since 2017, supported by an army of civilian volunteers nationwide.  The Arab America Foundation, established by the Davids, organized events across the United States throughout during the month of April, culminating in a Zoom webinar on Sunday, April 25.

The two-hour webinar included a cross-section of American leadership: Governors, Members of the U.S. Congress, state legislators, mayors (San Francisco and Detroit), superintendents of prominent school districts, and cultural icons – led by recording artists Massari (Lebanese-Canadian) and Elyanna (Palestinian-Chilean).  (To view the webinar, click here.)

NUSACC’s David Hamod paid tribute to Warren and Dr. Amal David.  “Thank you for your dedication to the cause and your years of sacrifice and service to our community,” he said.  “Please accept my best wishes for the continued success of the Arab America Foundation.”

Warren David, President of Arab America and co-founder of the Arab America Foundation, said, “Amal and I are grateful to David Hamod and NUSACC as one of the first community organizations to support our launch of this initiative in 2017.  We salute NUSACC, which is at the forefront of promoting an accurate image of the Arab world through the Chamber’s mission of building economic bridges here and abroad.”