This is how Arab American Women are Getting Involved
By: MacKenzie DiLeo/Arab America Contributing Writer
Arab American women continue to make an impact all across the country. Whether you are looking to get involved yourself or would just like to be educated, the following article shares various organizations for Arab Americans to get involved. The following organizations raise awareness and work toward progress on a variety of issues affecting the community. While they may have different initiatives and areas of focus, one common goal is the empowerment of Arab women.
The National Arab American Women’s Association (NAAWA)
NAAWA is a grassroots organization of Arab American women who strive to achieve social justice, protect human rights and civil liberties, and provide a welcoming environment for women and their families. They advocate for activism and leadership participation of Arab American women. Members strive to develop and enact public policies that protect human rights and freedoms. Moreover, the Arab American women involved work to improve their various communities through volunteering, mentoring, and focusing efforts on social outreach. They also try to uphold and promote Arab culture by exploring art, music, literature, and language.
NAAWA has an Education Outreach Program aimed at addressing the misrepresentation of Arab culture in the school curriculum. More specifically, the program advocates for a more equitable history curriculum that provides students with more accurate information of the Arab world. NAAWA also has a Monthly Program aimed at introducing events with special speakers who mainly address the current interests of members. The association plans on implementing a Youth Program soon.
On March 8, 2020, NAAWA had its fifth annual dinner in Virginia to honor and discuss Arab American female excellence.
The Arab American Women’s Business Council (AAWBC)
AAWBC is a nonprofit professional organization. The organization addresses the needs of Arab American women as professionals and business owners and young Arab American women seeking business-related careers. AAWBC is based in Dearborn, Michigan, but is committed to helping not only Arab American women in Michigan but across the country. The organization serves its members by providing mentorships, internships, scholarships and professional development programs. It aims to expose Arab American women to diverse fields of professions and industries through networking, leadership, educational, and professional development opportunities.
In addition, every year the AAWBC awards a businesswoman of the year. This woman must possess impressive professional achievements, hold a leadership position, and have a record of community activism or involvement. Similarly, the organization also offers scholarship opportunities for Arab women planning to attend college in the state of Michigan. AAWBC also has a variety of sponsorship levels in which people could choose to donate to support the mission.
The Arab American Women Association (AAWA)
AAWA is a non-profit organization aimed at helping struggling Arab American families better prosper in the United States. The association offers a variety of programs and services including translation services, a social-marriage program, financial aid services, and culture classes. Moreover, the association has certified translators who can come directly to those who need assistance and help in all aspects related to interpretation. The social marriage program offers matchmaking services in conformity with the Arab culture and Islamic laws. The financial aid services redirect charitable donations to those in need, and the culture classes offer education on Arab culture and Arab folklore.
AAWA also helps Arab Americans seeking employment and can present them with opportunities in Arab businesses. Additionally, the association also provides counseling services for personal challenges related to marriage and youth. Members can even develop vocational skills with classes offered in sewing, hair styling, and even American citizenship exams.
Women Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE)
WISE targets issues pertaining to Muslim women such as gender inequality, reproductive rights, civil and political participation, and religious leadership. While the network is based in the United States, it has also dealt with global issues like female genital mutilation in Egypt. WISE works for change through education, collaboration, communication, and direct action. Likewise, their most recently launched campaigns in 2020, included “Wise Up – White Supremacy 101” and “Wise Up – Muslim Women’s Rights.” The website offers a newsletter offering subscribers an update on their progress. Similarly, the website also offers educational programs and e-learning opportunities for Muslim women and others who are interested in helping the movement.
American Palestinian Women’s Association (APWA)
APWA was established in 2004 by concerned American Palestinian women in the Washington D.C. area. It is a nonprofit women’s organization that is non-political and represents American Palestinian women of varying religions. The organization aims to empower American Palestinian women and advocate for their equality across various social spectrums. They also advocate for the emotional and mental wellbeing of American Palestinian children. They openly support the long lasting just peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Finally, they aim to bridge and elevate the understanding between Americans and Palestinians.
Muslim Women Alliance (MWA)
The Muslim Women’s Alliance is a non-profit organization focused on Islamic values of fairness, service to others and community building. The organization’s core focus areas include the development of female leaders, fostering community service, mentoring women to build confidence, and empowering the community through awareness and action on social issues. MWA’s goal is to empower Muslim women by helping them become leaders, make positive impacts in their communities, and enhance their own lives using MWA’s cornerstones. They would like to strengthen bonds located and design a model to implement MWA chapters nationally and internationally. The organization offers annual achievements for exceptional members.
Syrian American Women’s Charitable Association (SAWA)
SAWA is a non-profit and non-governmental organization dedicated to helping Syrians in need. SAWA aims to help the disadvantaged, the sick, and the elderly in particular. It is also committed to promoting humanitarian cooperation between Syrians and Americans. They have most recently been focusing their efforts on the Syrian Refugee Crisis and providing humanitarian and educational support for those impacted.
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