Posted by Guest on April 16, 2018 in Blog

Open_Mic_2.jpgBy: Johanna Mustafa, Yalla Vote Field Organizer: California

Unanimous! That was how the California State Senate adopted the Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 123, proclaiming the month of April as "Arab American Heritage Month." To mark the achievement, I took part in Southern California community events celebrating the month as a Yalla Vote Field Organizer.

Having the Yalla Vote program present at community events is crucial now more than ever. The stakes this election year couldn’t be higher. In terms of congressional races, the retirement of Rep. Ed Royce (CA-39) and and Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49) created two open-seat races in Southern California alone. Moreover, several Arab American candidates are running for local, state, and congressional offices.  

Kelly_Caballero_-_Singer_Songwriter_(Open_Mic).jpgEngaging with community members at local gatherings to ensure Arab Americans are informed, civically engaged, registered to vote, and ready to turnout on Election Day is critical. Which is why I was delighted to  join the Egyptian American community in the Greater Los Angeles area and the House of Egypt, a local non-profit, as they celebrated an annual Mother's Day and Easter celebration. We were able to register new voters at Arcadia Park, remind people of the primary election taking place on June 5, and share in the joy of spring.

In the evening, we took the Yalla Vote program  to Orange County and joined in the Cultural Open Mic event hosted by A Country Called Syria at the Olive Tree Restaurant in Little Arabia. The event brought together poets, storytellers, and performers from different backgrounds, under one roof to express solidarity and support for the people of Syria. The event was not only a celebration of Arab American Heritage Month but also a tribute to Syria, its culture, and its people. I was proud to speak to the audience about the significance of this year's election and the importance of making the Arab American voice heard through civic engagement.