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Oregon Governor Signs Bill Declaring April as Arab American Heritage Month

posted on: Jul 22, 2021


Oregon Governor, Kate Brown

WASHINGTON DC. (July 22, 2021) This week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law House Bill 2914, which declares April of each year as Arab American Heritage Month. Oregon is the second state along with Illinois which has permanently recognized Arab American Heritage Month.

Arab America and the Arab America Foundation launched the National Arab American Heritage Month initiative in 2017, with just a handful of states recognizing the initiative. This year a grass-roots network of over 250 Arab American volunteers in 26 states gathered proclamations from their states, municipalities, and local school districts. 37 states, issued proclamations recognizing National Arab American Heritage Month.

“Our goal is to see that every state in the US permanently recognizes National Arab American Heritage Month,” said Warren David, co-founder and board member of the Arab America Foundation and president of Arab America. “We applaud the Arab American Cultural Center in Oregon for taking the lead and spearheading this initiative.”

Attorney Hala Gores, a Co-Team Leader of the Arab America Foundation’s, Team Oregon, and a former president and co-founder of the Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon stated, “It is profoundly important that Oregon recognizes the substantial contributions that our Arab community members have made to our state’s rich history and to our collective prosperity,” she went on to say, “Our families, our students, our young leaders, and our communities are empowered by this important law.”

Nadia Dahab, president of the Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon, a statewide organization that testified in support of the bill said, “We are so moved by the support that our community has received from Oregon’s legislature and Governor Brown, this is such a critical step toward a better, stronger, and more inclusive Oregon.”

Oregon’s Arab-American community is estimated at approximately 40,000. Arab Americans and their families come from many of the 22 countries making up the Arab World, including Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and many others. The late Oregon Governor Victor George Atiyeh was the first elected governor of Arab descent in the United States and served 16 years in the Oregon state legislature.

The Arab America Foundation (AAF) is a non-profit educational and cultural organization in Washington DC that promotes the Arab heritage, educates Americans about the Arab identity, and connects and empowers Arab Americans with each other and with diverse organizations across the U.S.

The Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon (AACCO) is a non-profit cultural center dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the heritage of Oregon’s diverse Arab-American community. Through its cultural preservation work and through its programs and events, AACCO is a prominent contributor to Oregon’s cultural development.

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