Below is the archive of press releases issued by AAI and stories in which AAI appears. If you are a member of the media and interested in talking with us, please contact Omar Baddar at 202-429-9210.

AAI Statement on Hofeller memo, decennial census

Posted on May 30, 2019
This morning, news of the Hofeller memo brought to light what AAI and other civil rights groups feared from the moment Secretary Ross announced the addition of the citizenship question to the census: that it was politically motivated to suppress the count of various hard to count communities across the country.
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Defendant Convicted for Targeting of AAI President James Zogby and AAI Staff in Federal Hate Crime Trial

Posted on May 09, 2019


CONTACT: Tess Waggoner 


May 9, 2019

Defendant Convicted for Targeting of AAI President James Zogby and AAI Staff in Federal Hate Crime Trial 

From May 3 to May 7, 2019, current and former employees of the Arab American Institute (AAI) were called to testify in the federal hate crime trial, United States v. William Patrick Syring, at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The defendant, who was indicted in February 2018, was found guilty today on all fourteen counts, including seven federal hate crime charges. Four of these charges...

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Leadership, Poetry, Friendship, and the Pursuit of Justice Echo at Spirit of Humanity Awards

Posted on May 03, 2019


(202)429-9210 Leadership, Poetry, Friendship, and the Pursuit of Justice Echo at AAIF’s Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards  The Arab American Institute Foundation celebrated the Spirit of Humanity, offering the promise of hope in the face of darkness in recognizing Gus Newport, Lyse Doucet, RAICES, Emel Mathlouthi and the late Miriam Zayed at the 21st annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards on May 2, 2019. The gala brought together dignitaries, distinguished guests, community leaders, organizations and individuals to celebrate the enormous contributions of this year’s awardees to our common future,...

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21st Annual Kahlil Gibran Awards Gala Celebrates the 'Spirit of Humanity'

Posted on April 29, 2019



April 29, 2019

CONTACT: Tess Waggoner | | (202)429-9210



Washington, D.C.- The Arab American community will honor individuals and organizations who carry on the humanistic legacy of author and poet Kahlil Gibran at the 21st Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala on the evening of Thursday, May 2, 2019 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. This year’s recipients include former Berkeley, CA mayor Eugene "Gus" NewportRAICESthe largest immigration services provider in TexasLyse Doucet of the BBC, late Chicago-area community leader Miriam Zayed and Tunisian singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi.  

Individuals, organizations and communities whose work, commitment and support make a difference in promoting coexistence and inclusion in all walks of life are honored at the event, which is named for the famed Arab American artist and author of The Prophet. The awards further symbolize Gibran’s pride in his Arab heritage, respect for the freedom he found in the United States and the powerfully humane message of his life’s work. 

AAI Executive Director Maya Berry noted,

“Gibran’s example of cultural pride and civic engagement continue to inspire and inform our work today. Our Gibran Gala has always been about honoring the best of humanity. From community advocates who define public service, to journalists reminding us of our shared humanity, to an organization at the front lines fighting tirelessly to keep families together, this year’s awardees bring us hope despite deeply troubling times. We are pleased to honor the remarkable contributions of our awardees, who, through their profound accomplishments and service, remind us of our powerful commitments to one another, the human family.” 

Past gala participants and awardees include advocate and actress Salma Hayek Pinault, ALSAC – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the ACLU, former Sen. George Mitchell, Habitat for Humanity, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Reporters Without Borders, the late Muhammad Ali, journalist Christiane Amanpour, Amnesty International, Refugees International and recording star Sting among many others.


WHAT: 21st annual Kahlil Gibran “Spirit of Humanity” Awards Gala

WHO: Honorees include Lyse Doucet of the BBC, RAICES, Eugene “Gus” Newport, Emel Mathlouthi and the late Miriam Zayed. Presenters include the Honorable Rashida Tlaib, and actor Danny Glover.

WHERE: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St NW, Washington, D.C. 

WHEN: Thursday, May 2, 2018 Reception 5:30 PM | Gala dinner 6:30 PM

RSVP REQUIRED TO:; 202-429-9210

NOTE: The Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala is a private event. Press must RSVP, present credentials and ID on site to gain entrance to the event. Due to logistic limitations, we regret that onsite media registration for this event is not possible.

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AAI Responds to Fatal Shooting at Poway Synagogue

Posted on April 27, 2019


April 27, 2019

CONTACT: Tess Waggoner

(202) 429-9210 AAI Statement on Fatal Shooting at Chabad of Poway Synagogue

WASHINGTON, DC – Maya Berry, Executive Director of the Arab American Institute, made the following statement after receiving news of a fatal shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California:

"We are heartbroken to learn about today's shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue, which has left at least one person dead and multiple wounded. That today marks the end of Passover, one of the most important...

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AAI Statement on Supreme Court Oral Arguments on Census Citizenship Question

Posted on April 23, 2019


April 23, 2019

CONTACT: Tess Waggoner

(202) 429-9210 AAI Statement on Supreme Court Oral Arguments on Census Citizenship Question 

WASHINGTON, DC – Maya Berry, Executive Director of the Arab American Institute, made the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Department of Commerce v. New York, which asks whether a question about citizenship can be added to the 2020 census questionnaire:

“The decennial census is supposed to be a matter of mandated constitutional procedure. It is not supposed to be politicized. Our...

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Posted on April 11, 2019


CONTACT: Tess Waggoner,, 202-429-9210 TRUMP ADMINISTRATION DENIES PROMINENT PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE ENTRANCE On Eve of U.S. Speaking Tour, BDS Co-Founder Omar Barghouti Banned from Entry

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 11, 2019) – On April 10, Omar Barghouti, a prominent Palestinian human rights activist, was denied entry into the United States at Ben Gurion Airport despite having valid travel documents. The Arab American Institute invited him to Washington to participate in a number of speaking engagements and educational programs.  

Barghouti, who is the co-founder of the Palestinian civil society led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS), was scheduled to...

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AAI Welcomes NO BAN Act

Posted on April 10, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECONTACT: Tess Waggoner, (202) 429-9210


WASHINGTON, DC —  Today, AAI joins a diverse coalition of nearly 400 civil rights, faith, national security  and community organizations in announcing their support for the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (“NO BAN Act”), a historic civil rights bill that would essentially end the Muslim, Refugee and Asylum Bans and prevent discrimination based on faith or national origin in immigration.

AAI signed a joint letter sent to Congress endorsing the bill ahead of its bicameral introduction...

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House Hearing on Hate Crime Becomes a Platform for Hate

Posted on April 09, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, April 9, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on "Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism." Given our work on hate crime prevention and the burgeoning threat of white supremacist violence, the Arab American Institute was encouraged with the announcement of this hearing. Further, we hoped members of the committee would make a clear-eyed, good faith assessment of the evidence at hand.

According to data collected from state and local law enforcement agencies under the federal Hate Crime Statistics Act, 2017 saw the greatest single year increase and first three-year consecutive annual increase of reported hate...

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On National Census Day of Action, AAI Launches “Yalla Count Me In”

Posted on April 01, 2019


April 1, 2019

CONTACT: Tess Waggoner 

(202) 429-9210

On National Census Day of Action, AAI Launches “Yalla Count Me In”

WASHINGTON, DC – On April 1, 2019 the Arab American Institute along with a coalition of Arab American organizations formally launches, Yalla Count Me In, a national campaign to Get Out the Count (GOTC) of Arab Americans during the upcoming decennial Census in 2020. This launch corresponds with the National Day of Action hosted by the Census Counts coalition, civil rights groups who are working to ensure all communities, especially those who are designated as 

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