National Arab American Heritage Month

National Arab American Heritage Month

April 2, 2024 | Evident Change

A blue graphic that says "National Arab American Heritage Month."

NAAHM was proclaimed on a federal level in April 2021 by President Joe Biden after years of advocating by Arab American organizations and Pierre Subeh, Syrian American advocate and author. NAAHM celebrates a heritage and culture that has shaped our society, leaving footprints in every profession as an integral part of human civilization and its progression.

ADVOCATE FOR THE COMMUNITY

Dr. James Zogby headshot

Dr. James Zogby played a crucial role in advocating for Palestinian human rights in the 1970s as a founding member and leader of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. He also co-founded the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and served as its executive director until 1984. During his tenure at ADC, Dr. Zogby helped establish Save Lebanon, Inc., a nonprofit organization that aimed to provide humanitarian relief and fund social welfare projects. He founded the Arab American Institute in 1985, and in 1993, he was asked by then vice president Al Gore to help lead Builders for Peace. He has fought and lobbied for decades against discrimination of Arab Americans. He has testified before congress, been a guest speaker for the US Department of State, and addressed the United Nations on issues related to the experiences Arab Americans. President Obama appointed him to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2013 and 2015. 

TIMELINE OF ARAB AMERICAN RECOGNITION IN THE UNITED STATES

2017: Several states—Illinois, Oregon, Virginia, and Indiana—announce state support to designate April as Arab American Heritage Month.

2019: Michigan congressional representative Rashida Tlaib and senator Debbie Dingell forward a resolution to the US Congress to make April National Arab American Heritage Month.

2021: President Biden, the State Department, members of Congress, and governors proclaim their support for National Arab American Heritage Month.

2022: The initial supportive states, Congress, the State Department, and other state governors designate April as National Arab American History Month.

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A CALL FOR ACTION

From the earliest formation of civilizations in Mesopotamia, through the refinement of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system, to the founding of Apple Inc., people from the region historically referred to as Arabia have made important contributions to the world. And yet descendants of this region have faced harsh discrimination in the United States for decades. Arab Americans continue to face discrimination in the workplace based on their cultural practices, traditions, and religious beliefs.  Several Arab Americans who were interviewed for CNN’s Race Deconstructed newsletter in 2022 reported that they find being counted as White by most institutions in the US doesn’t reflect their reality. In other interviews, Arab Americans question being labeled as “White” despite experiencing a lack of the privileges and freedoms that US society usually gives those considered White. As a result, Arab Americans are fighting to be recognized, with efforts to include a category of Middle Eastern/Northern African on US Census Bureau forms.

As an organization that values diversity and supports all communities, Evident Change stands with the Arab American community for racial justice and peace. We believe that by acknowledging cultural practices and improving policies, we can build a more inclusive society where everyone can thrive. Let’s continue to navigate spaces and shift culture together for a brighter future.

WAYS TO HONOR AND CELEBRATE NATIONAL ARAB AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

Community Activities


Learning Resources