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Recognition of Arab American Heritage Month Is Growing But Still Far From Full In America

Chicago: US President Joe Biden issued a lengthy statement this week recognizing April as Arab American Heritage Month, saying on Friday that “the Arab American story is the American story”; and should be formally recognized by all Americans. .

Biden said that Arab Americans, like all ethnic groups in the country, have contributed to defining America as a country that welcomes immigrants and the cultures they brought with them, in the US military and in every profession. does service.

However, Biden said that many Arabs continue to face racism and discrimination despite their contributions to the nation.

“This month, we join together to celebrate the immeasurable contributions of Arab Americans to our country and recommit ourselves to making sure that all people get the opportunity to achieve the American dream.”

“Sadly, we also recognize that even as Arab Americans enrich our nation, many continue to face prejudice, bigotry, and violence – a stain on our collective conscience. There is no place for hate in this country. should not be a safe haven. We must reaffirm that sentiment again and again. That is why, on my first day in office, I issued a proclamation ending discriminatory restrictions on entry to the United States that harm the Arab American community. I also signed an executive order charging the federal government with advancing equity for historically underserved communities, including Arab Americans. I am honored to host and announce the United We Stand Summit, the first of its kind at the White House. proud to do New measures to help communities prevent and respond to hate-based threats, bullying and harassment,

Biden set up an inter-agency group to “coordinate” the federal government’s efforts to fight antisemitism and Islamophobia, and is exploring ways to include Arabs in the 2030 U.S. Census drive, according to a census questionnaire. Leaning toward adding the phrase “MENA” (Middle East and North Africa) instead of the word “Arab”.

For many years, Arabs in only a few states, such as Michigan, Illinois, California, Washington DC, Arizona, and Texas, celebrated Arab American Heritage Month individually and during different months of the year.

That changed in 2017 when Arab American leaders launched a coordinated effort to designate one month, April, as Arab American Heritage Month. In 2018, Illinois became the first state to pass legislation officially recognizing April as Arab American Heritage Month.

Since then, 44 other states have approved proclamations recognizing April as Arab American Heritage Month and Arab contributions to American society.

In 2022, the recognition of April as Arab American Heritage Month received a major boost when Biden became the first US president to recognize it as an official national commemoration.

Hassan, president of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, said, “We have seen a steady progress in bringing Arab Americans together to recognize a month to celebrate our rich cultural heritage, and we have seen that Many Americans and elected officials support this important designation.” Nijem, who was instrumental in getting the law passed in 2018.

“Last year, President Biden recognized April nationally as Arab Heritage Month and this has been followed by announcements and proclamations by members of Congress, state governors and legislatures in 45 states. We still have a ways to go, but recognition of the contribution of Arab Americans to the prosperity of this country is undeniable.”

Several Biden administration officials and department heads issued statements affirming April as Arab American Heritage Month. On April 1, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking for the Biden administration, issued a proclamation honoring Arab American Heritage Month.

,Last year, President Biden became the first US President to declare April as National Arab American Heritage Month, in recognition of the contribution of Arab Americans to a United States that is as old as America itself. Americans of Arab heritage have carried forward the country’s achievements in diplomacy, science, technology as well as arts and culture, Blinken said.

“Arab Americans have also been at the forefront of the fight for civil rights and social justice. We mark National Arab American Heritage Month by celebrating the rich culture and heritage of Arab Americans and honoring their contributions to this country, including pride here at the State Department.

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison was joined by James Zogby, chair of the DNC’s Ethnic Council, who is also president of the Arab American Institute. issued a statement saluting Arab culture April during Arab American Heritage Month.

“This Arab American Heritage Month, we celebrate the culture, contributions and achievements of Arab Americans across our country. This vibrant and diverse community, with roots in 22 countries across the Middle East and North Africa and many cultural and religious traditions, The best representation of who we are,” read a statement released by the DNC on Saturday.

“President Biden understands this, and that is why the Biden-Harris Administration will recognize April as National Arab American Heritage Month for the first time nationally in 2021. On behalf of the Democratic Party, we are proud to celebrate and support Arab Americans. He has tremendous influence on our party and country.

From schools to government agencies and public organizations, Americans are celebrating Arab American Heritage Month. For example, the New York City public schools list a variety of ways in which classrooms and students can learn more about Arab American history.

The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan is offering a “Virtual Tour” of Arab American History,

Google Classroom and1001 inventionsto promote diversity and inclusion in its online exhibition as well as provide digital access to interactive stories about lesser-known pioneering men and women, primarily from the Arab world, to help spark youth interest in science partnered for.

Several Arab American leaders said the celebrations were muted in honor of the observance of Ramadan, the important Islamic religious commemoration observed by Muslims from sunrise to sunset during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and in prayer and through community reflection. Is.

In a show of unity with Muslims, many Christian-owned restaurants limit their business hours to after sunset iftar, and reduce public gatherings.

“In Illinois, we will host events at the end of April for Arab American Heritage Month as an act of respect,” Nijem said, noting that Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, which annually recognizes the achievements of the region’s ethnic groups, will host a special Arab American heritage gathering on May 1 at its offices in Chicago.

Nijem said that the Arab Chamber has planned several events in the last week of April after the end of Ramadan.