Celebrating Arab American Heritage Month

April is Arab American Heritage Month. Last year, the federal government officially recognized it as a time to honor and spotlight the contributions of Arab Americans in our society. “…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 Arab American heritage, here are some resources to help you learn more and celebrate the month.

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

Statistics on Arab Americans in Illinois

Honoring Our Arab American Leaders

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.

5 Ways to Celebrate Arab American Heritage Month

  1. Donate to an Organization Consider donating to organizations such as Arab American, the Center for Arab American Philosophy, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, or locally to the Arab American Action Center.
  2. Enjoy Arab Cuisines Hummus, fattoush and tabouleh 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.