Arab American Heritage Month graphic

Cal State San Bernardino is set to host a series of engaging events throughout April to celebrate Arab American History Month (AAHM). These events, which are free and open to the public, will showcase the vibrant cultures, remarkable achievements and significant contributions of Arab Americans.

Scheduled for April 9, the Opening Ceremony of Arab American Heritage Month will be hosted at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA). This event will feature stories that highlight a sense of belonging which transcends borders. A self-guided tour of the Ancient Egyptian Exhibit will be available to attendees from 3:15-3:45 p.m., followed by a presentation from 4 p.m.-5 p.m. on “From Ancient Egypt to the Americas: Arabic Stories of Belonging Beyond Borders”. Register online at Qualtrics webpage for the RAFFMA event.

In the spirit of academic enrichment, the John M. Pfau Library will display exhibits dedicated to Arabic literature, calligraphy and fashion throughout April. Notably, on April 6, the library will host an Arabic Calligraphy Expo and Tour, an event at which Arabic calligraphy projects crafted by students will be displayed, and a guided tour of renowned calligraphic artworks will be offered. Time to be announced. Register at the Inagural Arab American Heritage Month event webpage.

The university is also committed to fostering discussions on mental well-being with an online seminar, A Healing Oasis: From Gaza to Diaspora Nurturing Mental Wellness, scheduled for April 11 from noon-1 p.m. This webinar will feature a mental health specialist leading a dialogue on maintaining mental health amidst witnessing global conflict from Gaza to diaspora. Register at the Qualtrics webpage for the Healing Oasis event.

A poignant virtual reality experience, Gaza Unveiled: Virtual Reality Expedition into Pre- and Post-War Realities, will be accessible from April 16-18 from 10 a.m-4 p.m. in the John M. Pfau Library, room 111. Participants will be transported to Gaza, witnessing the stark realities before and after the conflict. Register on the Qualtrics webpage for the Gaza Unveiled event.

Highlighting the historical significance of Arab scholars, the Arab History Written in The Stars event will occur on April 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Murillo Family Observatory. It will highlight Arab contributions to astronomy and will be part of the observatory’s open house. Register at the Qualtrics webpage for the Arab History Written in the Stars event.

On April 24, the university will host Bridging Cultures: Exploring Arab-Latino Connections Through Film, featuring the film, “The Prophet,” which will offer a cinematic bridge between cultures. The screening will take place from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at Santos Manuel Student Union South theater. Register at the Qualtrics webpage for the Bridging Cultures event.

Embracing the art of storytelling, the online event Arabic Storytelling & Poetry: Voices from Students and the Community will take place on April 25 from noon-1 p.m., featuring narratives and poems from the rich tapestry of Arabic literature. Register on the Qualtrics web page for the Arabic Storytelling & Poetry event.

The screening of the film, “36 Seconds: Portrait of a Hate Crime,” on April 29 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. will be followed by a conversation with the director, Tarek Albaba. The film, which examines the tragic event of three Muslim-American students' demise in 2015, "charts the victims' families' agonizing overnight pivot from trauma to advocacy as they struggle to prevent their loved ones' deaths from being dismissed as the result of a random parking dispute." Ahlam Muhtaseb, CSUSB professor of media studies, served as co-producer and lead researcher for the film. Register on the Qualtrics webpage for the film screening.

The monthlong celebration will culminate on May 2 from noon-2 p.m. with Uplifting Identities and Sharing Our History, a joint event hosted by the AAHM and APIDA committees on the Santos Manuel Student Union patio, featuring a student panel led by both affinity groups that will discuss elements of their intersecting identities and how that influenced their decision to assume student leadership roles on the CSUSB campus. Register on the Qualtrics webpage for the Uplifting Identities and Sharing Our History event.

The designation of April as Arab American Heritage Month in California is a testament to the advocacy and vision of Mahbuba Hammad, a distinguished faculty member in the department of world languages and literatures.

“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,” said Hammad. “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.”

Concurrent Resolution 58 (ACR-58), which officially designated April as Arab American Heritage Month in the state of California, was introduced by Eloise Gómez Reyes, a member of the California State Assembly, representing District 50. The California State Assembly passed ACR-58 in late May 2023.

CSUSB invites all students, staff, faculty, administrators, and the community at large to join in April’s Arab American Heritage Month events, embracing the tapestry of cultures that shape our society.

For further details, please visit the Arab American History Month webpage.