What’s Informing Us

This April, Talent Citizen honors and celebrates Arab American Heritage Month. We wanted to gain a deeper appreciation for Arab American history and demographics as well as comprehend current issues affecting the community related to philanthropy and societal inequities.

Through our learning this month, we were reminded that the Arab American community is not monolithic nor one race. The community is defined by its shared culture and history spanning countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Recognizing the diversity of the Arab American community is crucial to understand the population’s history, impact, and uniqueness.

Resources we are finding especially relevant and informative this month are:

 

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics | Celebrate Arab American Heritage Month

This information page gave us a great overview of the Arab American community, from countries of origin and gastronomy to demographic and religious affiliation. There are more than 3.7 million Arab Americans in the U.S., with the majority of them belonging to Christian denominations and more than 30 percent being Muslim. Thanks to the Arab American community’s efforts in advocating and organizing, several states started recognizing the heritage month in the last seven years, and President Biden officially declared April National Arab American Heritage Month in 2021. Be sure to checkout some of the links at the end of the page for more resources, including the Arab American National Museum.

Dorothy A. Johnson Center | Arab American Giving: Vibrant, Evolving, and Part of a Long History in the U.S.

Despite racism and invisibility challenges, the Arab American community has a strong history of giving and philanthropy. This history was evidenced in the Center for Arab American Philanthropy’s (CAAP), Tapestry of Giving report. CAAP was established as the nation’s first and only Arab American community foundation in 2010, leading to the publishing of the report in 2022. The report is the only one of its kind to examine the community’s giving trends and behaviors. More important, it seeks to reclaim the narrative and highlight that Arab Americans have been and continue to give back to their communities in the U.S. and abroad while they strive for recognition and justice.

ABC News | Anti-Muslim Incidents Climbed Sharply Last Year, Civil Rights Group Says

Islamophobia has historically had a negative impact on many members of the Arab American community due to social stereotypes, prejudice, and racism. The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) recorded the highest number of Anti-Muslim incidents recorded in 30 years, according to their most recent annual civil rights report. Alarmingly, hate crimes have risen as a whole in the last few months, including anti-Muslim and antisemitic hate crimes all over the U.S. CAIR provided a list of recommendations related to legislation, policy, and advocacy efforts that can contribute to a decrease in these incidents.

NPR | Next U.S. Census Will Have New Boxes for ‘Middle Eastern or North African,’ ‘Latino’

One small victory in the midst of inequities and injustice is the Biden administration’s approval of changes to the U.S. Census and federal government forms under a restructured question about race and ethnicity. The Census and government forms will now include checkboxes for “Middle Eastern or North African” (MENA) as well as “Hispanic or Latino.” This change will improve the accuracy of demographic data for various purposes such as redrawing voting district maps and guiding policymaking. It marks the first significant change to racial and ethnic categories in more than 25 years thanks to the advocacy efforts of impacted communities such as the Arab American population. With this change, organizations like our client partner, Wayne State University, will also enact the change in forms and applications to keep with the new federal regulations, as cited in their own recognition of April as Arab American Heritage Month.