What is Arab American Heritage Month?
In the United States, we designate the month of April as Arab American Heritage Month. It is a time for us to learn about and celebrate Arab culture and the contributions of Arabs and Arab Americans past and present. The Arab America Foundation and Arab America started the idea of Arab American Heritage Month, and some states began recognizing it in 2017. In 2021, President Joe Biden made the first national official proclamation to designate the month of April as Arab American Heritage Month. There is a bill pending in congress that would make a more permanent designation. Several states, Illinois, Oregon and Virginia, have permanent statewide designations for the heritage month.
What does it mean to be Arab or Arab American?
Approximately 3.7 million Americans identify as Arab American. Arabs are a group defined by a common language – Arabic. Arabic heritage can be traced across the Middle East, Western Asia, and Africa. In the U.S. Census, this includes individuals who identify their heritage as Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Palestinian, Moroccan, Arab or Arabic, and Other Arab (Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.) In Washington State, the category also includes Arab-speaking individuals who identify as Assyrian/Chaldean, and Somali, or Sudanese. In Washington, the largest communities of Arab Americans identify as having Somali or Lebanese ancestry.
How can we learn more about Arabic Culture?
Arabic culture is diverse in traditions, religion, race, and nationality. You can learn more about this rich cultural heritage through books, movies, food, and experiences. Here are some places to start your cultural adventures:
Museums and Events
Learn more about Arabic culture at this open source learning website