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Re-Cap April 2024: Recognition of National Arab American Heritage Month Reaches New Heights Every Year

posted on: May 1, 2024

By: Claire Boyle / Arab America Contributing Writer

In 2017, the Arab America Foundation created the grassroots initiative to commemorate the month of April as National Arab American Heritage Month, abbreviated as NAAHM, with only a few states recognizing the initiative with proclamations. Seven years later, full of dedicated activism with a network of over 250 volunteers, NAAHM has grown into a national movement where companies, nonprofits, individuals, the U.S. federal, state, and local governments, school districts, libraries, universities and colleges, and so many more institutions are not only recognizing but also celebrating National Arab American Heritage Month.

This past year posed significant challenges, notably with the tragic events unfolding in Gaza, deeply affecting Arab Americans who felt a profound sense of distress and solidarity with the Palestinian community. Consequently, numerous community gatherings and events during National Arab American Heritage Month were centered around expressing support for Palestinian people, honoring their heritage, and reaffirming their cultural identity amidst ongoing struggles. These initiatives aimed to foster unity, raise awareness, and advocate for justice amid tumultuous times.

NAAHM continues to elevate each year, reaching greater milestones. This article aims to spotlight numerous organizations acknowledging April as National Arab American Heritage Month and showcase the Arab America Foundation’s efforts in advancing Arab American identity and heritage. It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive but serves as a condensed overview of the recognition and support garnered during this significant month.

SMART Bus Wrap – Royal Oak, MI:

Photo credit: Royal Oak Tribune

The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) bus system in Royal Oak, MI, in sponsorship with the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and Chaldean Community Foundation, introduced a special bus wrap to celebrate NAAHM on the SMART buses in Royal Oak, MI. This development was reported in the Royal Oak Tribune. The bus wrap was dedicated to famous Arab American leaders.

Google Doodle – Etel Adnan:

Photo Credit: Google Doodle

On April 15, 2024, the Google Doodle of the Day celebrated esteemed Lebanese American writer, artist, and poet Etel Adnan. Visit the link to learn more about this amazing writer!

The History Channel:

The History Channel continued its salute to National Arab American Heritage Month 2024 with a resource page highlighting the initiative with the official national designation of the month launched in 2017 by the nonprofit media and education organization Arab American Foundation and its sister organization Arab America.

Bellevue, WA School District:

Photo Credit: Bellevue School District

The Bellevue, WA School District wrote an informational article about National Arab American Heritage Month. In addition, they cite the work of the Arab America Foundation in originating the movement, and their write-up includes details on how the Arab World differs from the Middle East, how to celebrate Arab Americans, and the Arabic bilingual programs available to students within their school district.

Kanopy Streaming Database:

Kanopy, an online database, often seen in university libraries compiled a collection of Arab cinema and documentaries for students to have access to watch with their university logins during April for NAAHM.

All of Us LGBTQIA+:

Photo Credit: All of Us LGBTQIA+/PRIDEnet X page

On April 1, 2024, the organization All of Us LGBTQIA+, a national partner of All of Us of the AllofUsResearch program by the National Institutes of Health, posted on their X page (formerly known as Twitter) to wish everyone a Happy National Arab American Heritage Month!

University of Michigan Baseball:

Photo Credit: University of Michigan Baseball X

Also, on April 1, 2024, the University of Michigan Baseball team posted on their X page some greetings for everyone to celebrate April as National Arab American Heritage Month. In their note, they mentioned, “[m]ay this month be a celebration of the traditions, stories, and accomplishments of Arab Americans. Happy Arab American Heritage Month!”

Worcester Polytechnic Institute:

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), one of the first engineering and technology universities in the United States sent out a press release in early April to celebrate the month as National Arab American Heritage Month. A few of the highlights include that WPI “celebrates the diverse culture, heritage, and contributions of Arab Americans throughout history,” they mention the work of the Arab America Foundation frequently, and their release provides some resources of Arab American podcasts and proclamations from recent years.

STATE Magazine:

The U.S. State Department’s magazine, STATE, details the lives of Arab Americans in the foreign service in a nice piece from one of their own, Nadia Farra, a third-generation public servant. She is a member of the employee resource group (ERG), at the State Department, Arab-Americans in Foreign Affairs Agencies, collectively known as AAIFAA. Read on to learn more about her story and others within the foreign services.

Metro TAP Card on eBay:

Photo Credit: eBay

eBay is selling new Metro TAP cards designed for Arab American Heritage Month in April 2024. The cards featured a beautiful mosaic design indicative of mosaics found in the Arab World on a yellow-green background.

State of California – Governor Gavin Newsom Provides Proclamation in Support of NAAHM:

Photo Credit: Office of Governor, Gavin Newsom

California Governor, Gavin Newsom (D) gave Arab Americans a proclamation to celebrate and recognize April as Arab American Heritage Month. Of particular note, in the proclamation he mentions how his state of California has the largest population of Arab Americans in the United States, and Newsom declares that he joins the nation in lifting up the “profound and wide-ranging contributions of Arab Americans in all facets of our society.”

Case Western Reserve University:

In a recent article, Case Western Reserve University introduced their community to three Arab American leaders on campus – Salayna Abdallah (Lebanese), a Master’s student in Clinical Psychology, Mariah Salloum (half Lebanese), Assistant Director of Student Programming and Operations in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Haddy Dardir (Egyptian), an undergraduate student in Psychology.

Kansas State – The Collegian:

Photo Credit: K-State The Collegian

The Kansas State Collegian, the independent student-run newspaper of Kansas State University, recently ran an article about recognizing and educating yourself about Arab American Heritage Month. In their informative piece, they describe the history of the movement and highlight the role of the Arab America Foundation in achieving national recognition in 2021 from President Joe Biden. In addition, the Collegian mentions famous Arab Americans including the Hadid sisters, Rashida Tlaib, and Michael W. Suleiman, and asks its students to get involved with exploring Arab art and poetry at K-State. Finally, they urge their fellow students to consider a minor in Middle East Studies or to in Arabic to fulfill a foreign language requirement.

Brooklyn Made Store:

Photo Credit: Brooklyn, NY Patch

Taco Bell:

Photo Credit: Taco Bell / Yahoo News

David S., a Marketing Coach at Taco Bell shares a story about Arab culture and heritage in the company’s post on their blog to celebrate April as National Arab American Heritage Month. In it, he shares the importance of “never giving up on your culture or chang[ing] who you are.”

Montgomery County, MD:

Montgomery County, MD, shared a presentation about Arab culinary traditions to celebrate April as National Arab American Heritage Month. The article also discussed familial memories of Arab Americans immigrating to the United States from Lebanon.

“Highlighting the Arab American Voices in Metro Detroit”:

Video Credit: CBS News Detroit / YouTube

USDA / US Forest Service Joint Letter to Employees:

The USDA and US Forest Service sent a joint letter to employees reminding them to celebrate April as National Arab American Heritage Month. The letter describes the history of Arabs who settled in North America, including a Moroccan man—Estabanico Azemmouri in 1527, believed to be the first Arab on American soil—and Antonio Bishallany of present-day Lebanon, in later times, the United States. In addition, the USDA and US Forest Service highlighted the role of the Arab America Foundation as a critical resource and originator in the NAAHM movement.

ABC 10:

Video Credit: ABC 10 / YouTube

ABC10 highlights Arab American women making a difference in their communities in California in beyond through daycares and other ventures in this short video.

City of Temecula and Temecula Valley Museum:

The City of Temecula and Temecula Valley Museum created a temporary mural in celebration of NAAHM in Sam Hicks Monument Park, utilizing the theme – “Arab Cityscape.” The mural is on display until the end of April 2024. It was unveiled with a special reception on April 17, 2024.

“Arab American Heritage Month Celebrated by Suburban Chicago Students”:

Video Credit: CBS 2 News Chicago / YouTube

Detroit Tigers / Detroit Red Wings Game Changers – Dr. Haifa Fakhouri, Ahmad Chebbani, Ali Sayed, and Lina Hourani-Harajli:

Photo Credit: Detroit Red Wings

Dr. Haifa Fakhouri, President and CEO of America’s Community Council (formerly known as the Arab American and Chaldean Council) has been named one of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings’s Game Changers during the month of April celebrating Arab Americans who have made significant differences in their communities through their lives in the Detroit area.

Ahmad Chebbani, Chairman, and Co-Founder of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce was also selected as the final Game Changer in April due to his contributions in the Arab American business community.

Ali Sayed, Founder and CEO of HYPE Athletics, was celebrated as a past Game Changer for his impact on youth athletics in the community.

Lina Hourani-Harajli, COO of ACCESS, was recently celebrated as a past Game Changer for her impact on the community and the organization’s work with immigrants and refugees.

Center for the Study of Muslim and Arab Worlds:

Photo Credit: California State University, San Bernardino

National Endowment for the Arts:

Photo Credit: National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) sent a press release to celebrate NAAHM and recognize the month through artwork. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Arab American Resilience and Diversity.”

Todd Beamer High School:

Photo Credit: Todd Beamer High School

Todd Beamer High School within the Federal Way Public Schools District celebrated National Arab American Heritage Month with photos that showcased famous clothing from the Arab world. In addition, their write-up provided information on what countries are in the Arab World, and how their schools are planning on celebrating the month including by engaging in art projects, musical performances, and more.

Other schools within the system including Thomas Jefferson High School, Valhalla Elementary, and Meredith Hill Elementary celebrated NAAHM in various ways. Meredith Hill celebrated by highlighting Arab American heroes.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham – Heersink School of Medicine:

The Heersink School of Medicine at The University of Alabama at Birmingham put together a press release celebrating the accomplishments of Arab Americans in the fields of medicine and science. In it, they highlight the discoveries of Dr. Michael DeBakey, a Lebanese physician in cardiology. They also mention the work of the Arab America Foundation in gaining national recognition for the NAAHM movement in 2023 from the president. UAB provides some suggestions to celebrate NAAHM, and mentions that revelers can “read a book by an Arab American author, watch the Arab film series, and explore a one-of-a-kind oral history project.”

Photo Credit: The GRAMMYs / Wikipedia

The Grammy Awards website,, provided a list of 5 Arab American artists that we should know for 2024. These included Elyanna, Lana Lubany, Felukah, and others.

U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Debbie Dingell:

Photo Credit: Ken Coleman / Michigan Advance

About two weeks, U.S. Congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib and Debbie Dingell, both Democratic representatives from Michigan, reintroduced a resolution in the U.S. House, that if passed, would allow for a permanent federal law to celebrate April as National Arab American Heritage Month. In recent years, the resolution has not been successful, but it is still a worthy effort attempting to get it out there and we wish them the best of luck and continued success in this endeavor.

Stars and Stripes Europe:

Stars and Stripes Europe, a blog dedicated to military life for children and spouses compiled a list of age-appropriate books for Arab American Heritage Month in April 2024. The books range from children’s books, to picture books, to contemporary novels, with something to choose from for everyone.

Visit Arab America’s blog here!