Mahbuba Hammad, full-time lecturer in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Cal State San Bernardino, initiated the designation of April as Arab American Heritage Month in California.

The California State Assembly passed Concurrent Resolution 58 (ACR-58) in late May. ACR-58 was introduced by Eloise Gómez Reyes, a member of the California State Assembly, representing District 50.

“We are proud to announce that California has officially recognized April as Arab American Heritage Month, thanks to the leadership and support of the California State Assembly and Senate,” Hammad said in a press release by the Arab America Foundation, in which she serves as California State Team Leader.

“This permanent resolution is not only important in recognizing the contributions of the largest population of Arab Americans in the nation, but also seeks to humanize a group that has been historically stereotyped and dehumanized,” she continued. “By acknowledging and respecting the rich cultural heritage of Arab Americans, we take a significant step in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion measures across all sectors of society. This initiative sets a powerful example for other states to follow in safeguarding all communities’ human and civil liberties.”

Warren David, co-founder of the Arab America Foundation and president of Arab America, said in the same press release: “We are thrilled that the California Assembly and Senate have permanently designated April as Arab American Heritage Month. This historic success is a testament to the contributions and rich cultural heritage of Arab Americans in California and throughout the United States. By officially recognizing National Arab American Heritage Month, we can celebrate and educate others about the many achievements and enduring legacies of Arab Americans. This is an important step forward in promoting greater understanding, inclusion and appreciation for the Arab American community.”

Published in late April, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation designating April 2023 as National Arab American Heritage Month at the request of the Arab America Foundation. Additionally, this year, President Joe Biden recognized National Arab American Heritage Month with a historic proclamation.

With a population of close to 4 million, Arab Americans in the U.S. can be found in every state. California boasts the most prominent Arab American population in the country, estimated at over 700,000. The Arab American community in California has a rich history of immigration from the 22 Arab nations. The population primarily identifies with Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Palestinian and Moroccan heritage. However, California also includes Arab Americans hailing from Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, according to the U.S. Census.

Visit the Arab America Foundation website for more information about the organization.