Posted by Joan Hanna on June 26, 2017 in Blog
William "Chad" Hanna, back left; Senator John F. Kennedy, right.
At the age of 14, in 1904, George Hanna emigrated from Mashta al-Helu, Syria to Pennsylvania, settling in the town of Clymer, 70 miles east of Pittsburgh. George supported himself as a businessman, selling housewares in a cart to local coal miners. He was charismatic, an astute entrepreneur, and spoke four languages. Through his military service in World War...Read more
Posted by Guest on June 23, 2017 in Blog
By Dina Al Zubi
Growing up, iftars have always been my favorite part of Ramadan; water after a long day, a feast with wonderful food, and being surrounded by a feeling of celebration and appreciation for community (and the meal, of course).
Last week, on Thursday, June 15th, AAI hosted its fifth annual Generations Iftar. The AAI team, Generations network, friends, and family gathered to break the fast of the day, share a meal, and connect. Those of us who are new to the AAI family had the chance to...Read more
Posted by Guest on June 21, 2017 in Blog
By Haley Arata
Ten hours writing, three coffees, and two hours on the Internet: the magic writing formula for award-winning Arab American writer Hisham Matar.
Matar was born in New York, grew up in Tripoli and Cairo, and now lives in England. Hisham’s father, Jaballa Matar, opposed the Gaddafi regime and when Hisham was young his entire family fled to Cairo to avoid political persecution. It was during one of early days in Cairo that Matar remembers hearing the words of the one of the most influential books to his life and...Read more
Posted by Arab American Institute on June 19, 2017 in Blog
Nicole Khamis, Michigan Refugee Assistance Program
What was your motivation for founding MRAP?
My family is Palestinian and was forcibly displaced, so living in diaspora is my daily reality. I often have a hard time reconciling the opportunities I have, such as going to a school like Michigan or living in relatively safety, because I know many individuals who, just by virtue of living in a different part of the world, will never have the same opportunities I will have. Because of this, I have tried to use my privilege...Read more
Posted by Guest on June 19, 2017 in Blog
By Haley Arata As opponents of comprehensive immigration reform ratchet up their rhetoric, some law makers are stepping up and pushing back against growing xenophobia. In Michigan, Rep. Abdullah Hammoud has been quick to oppose discriminatory actions, recently proposing a pro-immigration resolution as part of the Michigan Civil Rights Expansion bill package. The package aims to extend protections to all Michigan residents and ensure that policies don’t discriminate based on place of birth. Hammoud and fourteen other representatives have sponsored 15 separate bills or resolutions as part of the package....Read more
Posted by Guest on June 19, 2017 in Blog
By Sarah Decker
"I used to be less outspoken. But as a woman, an Arab-American, and a member of the LGBTQ community, I have to use whatever voice I have. There's no more delicacy in being quiet.”
This is how Alia Shawkat explains her newfound sense personal agency, telling Out Magazine that she has recently come to terms with using her voice as a queer Arab American. She feels that this agency is reflected in her career as an actress and artist.
The daughter of an Irish-Norwegian mother and Iraqi father, Shawkat...Read more
Posted by Guest on June 16, 2017 in Blog
By Kai Wiggins
Washington, DC is a city full of policy wonks and amateur meteorologists. The average conversation here vacillates between some recent development in national politics or the fact that it is hot, and will continue to be hot, in our nation’s capital. And while talking politics might prove contentious, the DC summer weather is a nonpartisan issue.
As someone unsure about the road ahead, I find comfort in the inevitable swelter. I say this as a person who has never dealt well with heat, but...Read more
Posted by Guest on June 15, 2017 in Blog
By Razan Elbaba
My professor from my video production class at the School for Visual Arts asked us to film a video of our choice for our final project. After an extensive brainstorming session, I landed on the idea of telling the immigration story of my parents. The recent presidential election and subsequent Muslim travel ban encouraged me to delve into the harsh reality immigrants face coming to the United States.
After interviewing my parents about the specific details of their journey to the United States over 30...Read more
Posted by Guest on June 14, 2017 in Blog
By Oday Yousif
For Dr. Huda Zoghbi, taking risks is key to understanding who she is, her approach to science and her research. Born in Lebanon in 1955, Dr. Zoghbi is a neurology and pediatric neurology physician who is renowned for her work on genetics and neuroscience. Growing up in Beirut, she spent much of her youth pursuing literature and had a passion for Shakespeare. But it was her mother that told her medicine was a “much simpler career” and encouraged her to study biology setting her on a path toward the...Read more
Posted by Arab American Institute on June 12, 2017 in Blog
The Arab American Institute is deeply disturbed by news of the detentions and planned deportation of Arab Americans from our Chaldean and broader Iraqi community. The clear majority of these individuals are family men and successful members of their community who have taken responsibility for past offenses. Some attorneys are suggesting that to detain and deport them after they have already paid their debt to society subjects them to double jeopardy. Additionally, since their deportation means they will be returned to an active conflict zone, it’s a sentence that could cost them their lives.
Not unlike other immigrant...Read more