Happy Feel Good Friday and happy National Arab American Heritage Month! Officially recognized by President Biden in April 2021, a great way to celebrate this month is by learning more about the Arab America Foundation.Arab America Foundation (AAF) is an educational and cultural organization with the mission to “promote the Arab heritage and empower Arab Americans; educate Americans about the Arab identity and culture, and to connect Arab Americans to each other and to other communities.”
One of the ways AAF promotes Arab Americans is with a program that spotlights accomplished professionals in fields ranging from law, politics and business through engineering, medicine and entertainment. You can read more about these people on the annual lists: 40 Under 40, 30 Under 30 and 20 Under 20. Additional promotion happens through Arab America, a leading provider of digital media to the Arab American community. Their site shares a new Arabic word and recipe every day as well as highlighting news, events and resources.
Education comes in the form of fun facts, for example Shakira, Steve Jobs and astronaut Christa McAuliffe are all Arab American. There is also a more detailed educator’s curriculum kit that covers religion, demographics, culture and more. That’s where I learned that there are 22 countries in the Arab League united by a common language and similar customs. Also, people from these countries should not be referred to as Middle Eastern Americans because the category “Middle East” refers to a region of the world that is linked by a shared location, but not a common culture.
Connections can be made by becoming a cousin of AAF. You’ll be able to promote Arab American heritage and culture, network with business and professional contacts and attend educational and cultural events. If you live in the DMV area, the National Arab American Heritage Month Commemoration 2023 is happening on April 26th. Celebrations will include guest speakers, performances, cuisine, music, and dance! Get your tickets here.
The rest of us can support the AAF virtually by making a donation and amplifying their message on social media. Like the Arab America Foundation Facebook page and follow Arab America on Facebook, Twitter @Arab_America and Instagram @arab_america. Yalla!