Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Blog

In New York City, fifteen Arab American organizations worked together to promote education and bridge building through cultural events, film screenings, and informational panels during the annual Arab Heritage Week held from July 9th-18th. The planning began in October of last year with monthly meetings and brainstorming sessions by some of our very own community members, including Linda Sarsour, Sarab Al Jijakli, Rami Nuseir, and Jamal Rayyis. The sponsoring organizations who made this week possible are the American MidEast Leadership Network, Arab American Association of New York, Arab American Family Support Center, Arab American Medical Association-NY Chapter, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee-ADC-NY, Alwan for the Arts, Arab Muslim American Federation, Association of American Yemeni Science Professionals, Mahrajan of Middle Eastern Churches, Network of Arab American Professionals - NAAP-NY, Saba: Association of Yemeni Americans, New York Arab American Comedy Festival, Salaam Club of New York, Salam Arabic Church, and Yallah Youth for Arts.

The heritage week included the Arab American and North African Cultural Street Festival in Manhattan, an "Arab Night Live" Comedy show held in the Broadway Comedy Club, a "New York Evening of Arab Music" in Alwan For the Arts, an Arab American Bazaar in Bayridge, Brooklyn, an Arab American Heritage Festival in Park Slope, Brooklyn and an Astoria Arab American Heritage festival in Queens. Several state and federal political leaders attended, including State Assembly Member Janele Hyer-Spencer, State Senator Marty Golden, Congressman Mike McMahon, Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs in Mayor Bloomberg's Office,Fatima Shama, State Assembly Member Felix Ortiz, State Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny, and Congressional candidate Michael Allegretti. This fun-filled, family-friendly week of events celebrated the best of Arab culture, featuring live music and dance performances, vendors from all over NYC selling a variety of Arab foods and crafts, and recreational and cultural activities for all. It was a great opportunity for all New Yorkers – from various backgrounds – to celebrate the contributions of the Arab community.

The Arab Americans in Yonkers, just a short drive up north, were also celebrating their culture with their Arab Heritage Festival! The event held on Sunday, July 18th in Tibbetts Brook Park, boasted Middle Eastern music, live entertainment, Arabic food, pastries, costumes, fashion, and arts and crafts.  The sponsoring organizations that made this event such a huge success were the Arab-American Council, Inc. and the National Muslim Merchants Association. 

Congratulations to everyone involved in the planning and execution of these great events. On behalf of Arab Americans in New York and across the country, thank you!

Do you have similar celebrations in your community? We would love to hear about them.