April marks the celebration of National Arab American Heritage Month. During this month, the federal government honors and spotlights the contributions of Arab Americans to our society and democracy.
“…Arab Americans represent a diverse array of backgrounds, cultures and traditions. Like their fellow citizens, Americans of Arab heritage are very much a part of the fabric of this nation, and Arab Americans have contributed in every field and profession,” says the State Department.
As we commemorate the Arabian heritage across our city and country, here are some resources to help you learn more and commemorate.
A TIMELINE OF ARAB AMERICAN IMMIGRATION
Arabs began immigrating to America in the 1880s when the Ottoman Empire began to experience political conflict. When immigration quotas were put in place in the 1920s, Arab immigration slowed, and then picked up in the 1960s when the quotas were removed. Since then, we’ve seen a consistent increase in Arab immigration. Click here for a detailed timeline of Arab immigration from History.com.
THE ARAB AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
THE ARAB AMERICAN CHICAGOLAND EXPERIENCE
“This report (led by UIC) engages with the diversity of experiences among Arab American communities and their common challenge in navigating being at once hypervisible as a result of commonplace stereotypes as well as invisible due to being classified as white by government agencies and due to the general lack of knowledge about Arab Americans in our society.”
STATISTICS ON ARAB AMERICANS IN ILLINOIS
HONORING OUR ARAB AMERICAN LEADERS
HOW I CELEBRATE
“As a real estate professional, I am excited to commemorate Arab American Heritage Month by celebrating the diversity and contributions of Arab Americans. This month presents a unique opportunity to learn more about Arab American history, culture and traditions, and to support Arab American organizations in my community. I look forward to using this month as a chance to celebrate and educate more people about the Arab American community, and to promote diversity and inclusivity in my real estate practice.” – Ayoub Rabah, Coldwell Banker Realty
NOTABLE ARAB AMERICAN FIGURES
From Air Force colonels to astronauts and actors, there are many Arab American figures who have made history and broke barriers. Click here for a list of notable Arab American history makers from Women’s Day, or check out a list of famous Arab American in politics and pop culture from liveaboutdotcom.
DID YOU KNOW..?
There is a museum dedicated to Arab Americans in Michigan. The Arab American National Museum (AANM) is the first and only museum in the United States devoted to documenting and sharing Arab American contributions that shaped the economic, political and cultural landscapes of American life. The Museum also brings to light the shared experiences of immigrants and ethnic groups, paying tribute to the diversity of our nation.
5 WAYS TO CELEBRATE ARAB AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
- Donate to an Organization
Consider donating to organizations such as Arab American, the Center for Arab American Philosophy or locally to the Arab American Action Center.
- Enjoy Arab Cuisines
Hummus, fattoush and tabbouleh are Arab dishes you’re likely familiar with, but there’s so much more to the cuisine than just that. Research and create your own Arab dishes, or visit and support a local Arab restaurant.
- Learn the History
View the resources above or do your own research to learn more about the Arab community in Chicago and the history of Arabic immigrants.
- Consume Arab American Media
Check out news stations or outlets to get insight into the trials and tribulations of the Arab American community. Visit The Arab American News, the National Network For Arab American Communities or The Jerusalem Post.
- Read Arab American Literature
Reading Arab American literature will get you into the headspace of being an Arab American today. The America Writers Museum has a list of recommendations from Arab American writer Sahar Mustafah.