Brought to you by WHA’s Multicultural Employees and Allies Resource Group.
As National Arab American Heritage Month comes to a close, please make time to learn a bit more about the rich diversity of Arab American history, culture and contribution. A great resource is the Arab America Foundation; Dr. Lisa Farkouh (Northwest Perinatal Center) also suggests this article from CNN, which talks more about the racial experience of Arab Americans.
What is the history of Arab American Heritage Month?
Arab American Heritage Month has been observed since 2017. In 2019, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), introduced a resolution (pending) to Congress to proclaim April as National Arab American Heritage Month. In 2021, President Biden and the U.S. Department of State, together with 37 governors (including Oregon’s Governor Brown) issued proclamations supporting National Arab American Heritage Month.
Who are Arab Americans?
Arab Americans are descendants or immigrants from one of the 22 countries that make up the Arab League. These countries share a common language (with variations), but have many cultural differences. The Arab American Institute estimates there are nearly 3.5 million Arab Americans in the U.S. Most can trace their roots to Lebanon, Syria and Egypt—but also Morocco, Jordan, Palestine, Yemen, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and other Persian Gulf countries. Many arrived—or are descendants of those who arrived—during four waves of immigration beginning in the late 1800s. The last two waves of immigration have included many people displaced by war and violence.
Ideas for experiencing Arab American Culture
- Check out the Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon.
- Learn more about the influences and variety of Arabic cuisines.
- Choose your next read from this list of contemporary fiction by and/or about Arab Americans.
- Expand your family library with one of these children’s books featuring Arab and Arab American characters.
- Choose an article from the Arab America blog.
- Delve into the Arabic roots of some English words.
- Watch a TV show or movie featuring Arab Americans.
- Try Lebanese food at Ya Hala in Montavilla or order from the Iraqi menu at DarSalam.