Arab American Heritage Month graphic

In a meaningful ceremony that took place on April 9, CSUSB kicked off Arab American Heritage Month at The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA). As one of the key events in a series of cultural festivities, the opening ceremony highlighted the ongoing celebration of Arab American Heritage Month (AAHM), furthering the appreciation of Arab American cultures and achievements.

The ceremony set the tone for a month-long celebration that is both inclusive and enlightening. With the events being free and open to the public, the university community and beyond are invited to partake in the festivities that feature the vibrant cultures and remarkable stories of Arab Americans.

A highlight of the opening day was the self-guided tour of the Ancient Egyptian Exhibit, which was available to attendees from 3:15-3:45 p.m. This unique experience allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the history and grandeur of ancient Egypt, serving as a bridge to understanding the deep-rooted connections between ancient civilizations and modern Arab cultures.

Attendees participate in the self-guided tour of the Ancient Egyptian Exhibit at RAFFMA on April 9.
Attendees participate in the self-guided tour of the Ancient Egyptian Exhibit at RAFFMA on April 9.

Following the tour, the presentation “From Ancient Egypt to the Americas: Arabic Stories of Belonging Beyond Borders” was held from 4-5 p.m. Mahbuba Hammad, full-time lecturer in the Department of World Languages and Literatures, shared stories of prominent Arab Americans from all industries and walks of life. Attendees were invited to explore the diverse experiences and contributions of Arab Americans, fostering a greater appreciation and understanding of this dynamic community.

 “The goal is to educate individuals about who Arabs are, who the Arab American community is, and to highlight the humanity within our community,” said Hammad. She addressed the negative impact of media portrayals and stressed the significance of community bonds and understanding, stating, “We work with each other; we’re each other’s neighbors. Next time we hear an Arabic name or see someone who looks different, let’s not be scared or hesitant but try to learn about them. We’ll find we have a lot more in common than meets the eye.”

Cal State San Bernardino's dedication to Arab American History Month reflects a broader commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. By hosting these events, the university not only honors the contributions of Arab Americans but also promotes dialogue and understanding among all community members.

To learn more about the series of events scheduled in April, visit the Arab American Heritage Month website.