In 2017, the Arab America Foundation and its sister organization Arab American launched an initiative to create a National Arab American Heritage Month. It was established for April and the month is dedicated to celebrating the history, culture, diversity, and significant contributions made by Arab Americans in the United States.
It began with only a handful number of states acknowledging it. Since then, it has gained momentum and support from school districts, organizations, institutions, state legislatures, public servants, and politicians from across the country. Since its launch, the Arab American Foundation has worked closely with their grassroots network of volunteers to spread awareness and educate local communities about the month.
In 2019, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) introduced a resolution in Congress for the month to be recognized on a national scale. While the legislation has not passed, on April 19, 2021, President Biden published a White House letter recognizing the month and detailing the importance for appreciating and celebrating the Arab American community and culture. This was the first time a US president publicly validated and commemorated National Arab American Heritage Month. It now has support from the U.S. Department of State and 37 state governors.
For the more than 3.7 million people in the United States who identify as Arab American, there are still far too many biases and acts of hatred against them. This month is an important opportunity to celebrate the community’s rich heritage and contributions to American history, culture, and society.
Follow the hashtag #ArabAmericanHeritageMonth on social media to share your support and learn more throughout the month.
- 2022 Arab American Heritage Month Presentation Kit
- Read “The Story of Arab Americans’ Beginning in America – And the Quest for Fair Representation,” by Rita Stephan, regional coordinator for the Department of State’s United states Agency for International Development
- Explore the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn – the only academic institution in the United States devoted to the study of Arab Americans.
- Alif Institute fosters an understanding and appreciation of Arab culture and to engage Arabs and non-Arabs alike to achieve this mission.
- Learn about the Arab American Cultural and Community Center, which serves the community through cultural programs and promotes Arab culture and heritage.
- The Arab American National Museum is the first museum in the world devoted to Arab American history and culture.