Recognition of National Arab American Heritage Month Goes Mainstream!
By: Claire Boyle / Arab America Contributing Writer
National Arab American Heritage Month has gone mainstream given that there are now hundreds of public figures, organizations, businesses, educational institutions, local and state governments, and individuals who are celebrating the occasion! The National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) initiative was launched in 2017 by Arab America and the Arab America Foundation with the goal of the celebration going national where cultural institutions, school districts, municipalities, state legislatures, public figures, and non-profit organizations issue proclamations and engage in special events that celebrate our community’s rich heritage and numerous contributions to American society. Well, in 2022, five years after the start of the initiative, NAAHM has now gone mainstream nationally, and has transformed from merely few celebrations in a handful of cities to a movement!
This article is a compilation of the exciting recognition that National Arab America Heritage Month (NAAHM) is receiving from around the United States! Be proud of your heritage and excited about all the organizations that are recognizing it! Happy National Arab American Heritage Month from Arab America!
City Governments and Municipal Organizations:
Arab America Foundation’s teams so far have received proclamations from 40 states from 36 state governors for a total of 114 proclamations. More are coming soon as we continue the celebration of National Arab American Heritage Month throughout April! The Arab America Foundation is aiming for recognition from all 50 states this year–please join and help us reach our goal!
To read more about the Arab America Foundation’s efforts in securing proclamations, please click here!
We have received proclamations from so many cities, counties, towns, and villages, and we are so appreciative of all our volunteers’ dedication to supporting April as National Arab American Heritage Month!
On a final note, numerous governments have recognized this initiative, and for that, we thank their leaders for recognizing such an important month!
Multnomah County, OR:
In a first, the Multnomah County Board in the State of Oregon proclaimed April as National Arab American Heritage Month! Multnomah County has a fairly-large Arab population so it was exciting to see the county recognize the achievements of the Arab American community there!
Detroit Police Department:
In exciting news recently, the Detroit Police Department on Twitter recently sent out a tweet in support of National Arab American Heritage Month!
At the beginning of April, U.S. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib have all sent messages through social media and a letter to celebrate and recognize the month as National Arab American Heritage Month! In addition, the U.S Department of State recognized April as NAAHM with the announcement of their press spokesman, Ned Price, and by a press release from the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
President Joe Biden:
On April 1, 2022, President Joe Biden sent a letter to the Arab American community to recognize the month as National Arab American Heritage Month. Of particular note, President Biden wrote that “the history of Arab Americans goes back to the early days of our country’s inception, and their story is deeply woven in the diverse tapestry of America.”
Vice President Kamala Harris:
In a tweet on April 6, 2022, Vice President Kamala Harris sent greetings to celebrate April as National Arab American Heritage Month. Of particular note, Harris wrote, “Arab Americans have been leaders in shaping our nation from the beginning,” and then she asked that Americans celebrate NAAHM as well!
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13):
On April 8, 2022, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) sent warm greetings on her Twitter page in celebration of the month as National Arab American Heritage Month. In her note, she mentioned the “monumental” contributions that Arab Americans have made to this country!
US State Department–Secretary of State, Antony Blinken:
In a press release on April 1, 2022, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, recognized April as National Arab American Heritage Month. In the release, he mentioned how Arab Americans have made contributions to the United States including Private Nathan Badeen, a Syrian American who served during the American Revolution, and the various diplomats in the US Foreign Service that claim Arab American heritage. To read the press release, please click here
US State Department Press Spokesman, Ned Price:
During the month of April, numerous organizations have recognized it as National Arab American Heritage Month. These include community and professional organizations, and nonprofits.
YMCA at Virginia Tech
The YMCA at Virginia Tech put out a message in support of National Arab American Heritage Month by discussing who are Arab Americans, why, and what the month celebrates, and mentions the past recognitions by President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken.
On March 31, 2022, PBS organized a collection of its numerous documentaries that prominently feature Arabs and Arab Americans. For more information on how to view these movies, please click here!
University of Kansas Medical Center:
The University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center created a few programs to celebrate the contributions of their Arab American faculty and students. For more information on their National Arab American Heritage Month initiative, please click here!
Northern Illinois Food Bank:
The Northern Illinois Food Bank, one of the largest food banks in the state of Illinois which serves a 13-county region, has declared April 2022 as National Arab American Heritage Month! In a recent Instagram post, the Northern Illinois Food Bank said they are honoring their Arab American neighbors as well as explaining their national origins. Their team said that “Arab American Heritage Month seeks to elevate the stories and contributions of these communities.”
US Breastfeeding Committee:
The US Breastfeeding Committee gathered information about the Arab American community, and they even highlighted Arab America media as a resource for all things National Arab American Heritage Month!
North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (NASPGHAN):
NASPGHAN wrote about the origins of Arab Americans, and advised their readers to read further about the community on the Arab America Foundation website! They also wanted to celebrate NAAHM because the organization desired to highlight the contributions of their Arab American members!
American Influencer Council:
The New York City-based trade organization, American Influencer Council, said they were proud to celebrate April as National Arab American Heritage Month for the second year in a row and to recognize the contributions of their Arab American creators! Finally, they also provided a list of Arab American leading voices to follow. Go check out their page!
Safe Harbor, a private, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that offers numerous services for survivors of domestic violence and their children in Greenville, SC, has a page on its website in support of and recognition of National Arab American Heritage Month! They put together a list of 10 inventions that are still in use today that were created by Arabs!
Chicago Association of Realtors:
The Chicago Association of Realtors celebrates April as National Arab American Heritage Month. In their write-up of the month, they provided a timeline of Arab immigration, the documentary, The Arab American Experience, gave statistics on the Illinois Arab American population, and noted who are notable Arab American public figures.
TeachMideast, an educational initiative within the Middle East Policy Council provided a National Arab American Heritage Month-themed resource guide complete with articles and books on immigration, racism, civil rights issues, and their origins, among other things.
Hollywood Arab Film Festival:
From April 25-30, 2022, Hollywood, CA, will be hosting its Hollywood Arab Film Festival! They are marketing it as the celebration is in time for April as it is National Arab American Heritage Month! For more information, please click here!
Deloitte’s MENA & Allies community had a firm-wide Arab American heritage month event featuring Amal Clooney today!
University of California–Davis Health:
In a recent newsletter, the University of California–Davis Health organized an informational section on National Arab American Heritage Month by listing famous Arab Americans, Arab values, facts about the community and diaspora, and how their Radiology department is working to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Finally, UC–Davis Health put together a sheet with Arab American trivia questions.
Sheppard Mullin Law Firm:
Sheppard Mullin, a Chicago-based law firm provided a short description of what April as National Arab American Heritage Month signifies. They wrote a little bit about the origin stories of Arab Americans, and mentioned that they are proud to recognize April as National Arab American Heritage Month!
Huda Kattan, CEO of Huda Beauty shared a short video post on her Instagram page celebrating April as National Arab American Heritage Month and how she found her niche working in the beauty industry! In her post, she said “we belong to something beautiful!”
There is a Day for That:
There is a Day for That, a calendar-producing website, highlighted the work of Arab America and the Arab America Foundation in their descriptions of who makes up the Arab American community, they provided a timeline of Arab immigration to the United States, mention President Biden’s recognition of April as NAAHM, and wrote about the grassroots nature of the Arab America Foundation’s initiative.
Metro TAP Cards in California:
In California, riders on the Metro can now obtain National Arab American Heritage Month-themed TAP cards. The cards are currently available for only a limited time and cost $2. In their release, Metro, they described how Arab Americans hail from 22 countries in the Arab World and mentioned that California is home to over 300,000 Arab Americans!
CBS Detroit/The CW50:
On Sunday, April 24, 2022, CBS Detroit/The CW50 will air an interview with Arab America/Arab America Foundation’s Co-Founders, Warren and Dr. Amal David who are also the originators of the National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) initiative! Watch the show, Community Connect, for their feature! To watch this episode, please click here!
WTOL 11 CBS in Northwest Ohio:
WTOL 11, the CBS affiliate station in northwest Ohio put together a short YouTube video clip of Arab Muslims who are currently celebrating Ramadan in the state. Their reporter interviewed multiple Arab American Muslims who shared why they fast during Ramadan, and the history behind the religious traditions that are celebrated during the month which this year also coincides with National Arab American Heritage Month.
Educational and Cultural Institutions:
Buffalo, NY Public Schools:
Buffalo, NY Public Schools put Arab America’s official National Arab American Heritage Month logo on the front page of their website! Buffalo, NY is a huge school district, and we’re so appreciative of their support and recognition of April as NAAHM!
Loyola University Chicago Library:
The Loyola University Chicago (LUC) Library has organized a Library Research Guide also known as a LibGuide in library circles to celebrate April as Arab American Heritage Month! At the very top of their resource list is a link to the website of the Arab America Foundation! The librarians also put together a curriculum collection with various Arab American-related resources available, online films, and links to other Arab American websites including the Arab America blog!
New York State Education Department:
The New York State Education Department recently tagged Arab America on a LinkedIn post to let us know they are celebrating April as National Arab American Heritage Month! In their post, they mentioned the “rich culture of Arab Americans, and the numerous contributions the community has made to the United States.”
Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs:
Amaney Jamal, the Dean of the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) recently sent out a letter in celebration of April as National Arab American Heritage Month! Amaney brought up familial ties of origins in Palestine, and SPIA noted the work of Arab America and the Arab America Foundation in launching this initiative in 2017.
SUNY Empire State College Library:
The SUNY (State University of New York system) Empire State College Library like Loyola University Chicago (LUC) has gathered important resources for students, faculty, staff, and the public to be aware of and celebrate April as National Arab American Heritage Month! They put together an Anti-Racism Guide, OneSearch (Library Catalog search) results of Arab American-related results, and their library also mentioned the Arab America Foundation as a very valuable resource!
Orem Library, Orem, UT:
The Orem Library located in Orem, Utah, has organized a resource page for children to be informed about National Arab American Heritage Month! On this all-encompassing page, families can find resources on the origins and heritage of Arab Americans, where they are from, an Arab American-related picture book read aloud as a video, and another children’s story called The Arabic Quilt! The Orem Library also made a collage of famous Arab American books for children so youngsters can learn about diverse cultures! Finally, the Arab America Foundation and Arab America websites were mentioned as helpful resources!
Learning for Justice:
Learning for Justice, a curriculum resource website for teachers and educators has gathered materials for schools to provide meaningful support for Arab American students in the classroom. They have articles focusing on working with and uplifting Arab American students, understanding the bullying that they may face, and other items to help school teachers learn more about the Arab American community!
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Committee (WHOI) for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion celebrate April 2022 as National Arab American Heritage Month! WHOI is a private, nonprofit research and higher education institution dedicated to the study of marine science and engineering located in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In their article about NAAHM, they described the federal recognition from President Joe Biden and US State Department that Arab American Heritage Month has received and noted the work of the Arab America Foundation in organizing the initiative for this month!
Arlington Public Schools:
On April 1, 2022, Arlington Public Schools in Arlington County, Virginia declared the month as National Arab American Heritage Month! On their website, they highlighted the work of the Arab America Foundation, President Joe Biden’s recognition of the month as well as the U.S. Department of State!
Entertainment and Sports:
On March 22, 2022,, the History Channel launched its first-ever celebration of April as National Arab American Heritage Month! They are now featuring articles on the Arab American immigrant experience, and commemorating the initiative for National Arab American Heritage Month that was started by the Arab American Foundation in 2017!
TikTok has announced April as a month where they are celebrating the work of Arab American creators! They are titling this #ArabTikTok! During the month of April, they are highlighting Arab American TikTok video creators and influencers. In their press release, TikTok mentioned, “for NAAHM, we’re proud to shine a light on the creators and businesses who uplift and champion the Arab community every day on TikTok, and within their local neighborhoods.”
On April 7, 2022, the Detroit Lions NFL team sent a tweet in support of celebrating April as National Arab American Heritage Month! In their message they wrote, “we recognize National Arab American Heritage Month to honor and celebrate the Arab Americans that call Michigan their home!”
Apartment Therapy, a lifestyle blog, and publishing company focused on home design has organized a compilation of significant TV shows and movies with great Arab American representation to watch not only during this awesome month but also all year as well!
Michigan Radio’s daily weekday program, Stateside, recently featured a guest from the Michigan History Center to discuss the origins of National Arab American Heritage Month and its significance within the Michigander community.
The celebration of National Arab American Heritage Month has become mainstream within the United States! An initiative that was started in 2017 by the Arab America Foundation, continues to grow, and so far, the sky is the limit! Take a moment and flip through these stories of organizations, public figures, businesses, educational institutions, and entertainment venues celebrating National Arab American Heritage Month!! Most of all, it is our hope that this article will provide you with excitement, and joy, and be proud of your Arab American heritage!
For more information on how National Arab American Heritage Month has become mainstream, please click the PDF document link here!
Check out Arab America’s blog here!