2024 Arab American Heritage Month: Celebrating culture and contributions

March 28, 2024 2:16 PM
by Anna Sophia Alowayed

April is Arab American Heritage Month, when we celebrate the heritage, culture and contributions of Arab Americans across the country.

During this time, we honor the shared history and Arabic language, representing a diverse community of different religions, races and creeds. The community includes those who have immigrated from the 22 Arab nations across the Middle East and North Africa since the 16th century.

While celebrations of Arab American Heritage have occurred throughout the United States starting in the 1980s, it was in 2017 that Arab America and the Arab American Foundation brought together a unified celebration across the country, establishing April as the month for celebration and education of Arab American identity.

Thanks to grassroot campaigns and a coordinated push for education around Arab American heritage, five states recognized April as National Arab American Heritage Month by 2018. In March 2023, President Joe Biden proclaimed April as Arab American Heritage Month across the United States. California, home to the largest Arab American population in the country, with Little Arabia in Anaheim as one of the first Arab American districts in the U.S.

You can celebrate National Arab American Heritage Month by reading a book by an Arab American author, trying a tasty Arab recipe, learning more about Arabic artists and filmmakers, or by supporting your favorite local Arab American business. Check out these recommendations from Santa Monica Public Library staff:

And join us at the Santa Monica Public Library for fun events for all ages throughout the month of April.

“Breaking Fast” A Screening and Panel Discussion
Thursday, April 11, 5:30 - 7:45 p.m. / Main Library, Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium
Celebrate Arab American Heritage Month as we screen “Breaking Fast”, a romantic comedy where a heartbroken Mo and a charismatic Kal get to know each other over nightly iftars. A 7 p.m. panel discussion follows with director Mike Mosallam, Lead Producer Seath Hauer, and Actor Amin El Gamal. Runtime 96 minutes.

Zellij Bookmark Coloring Workshop
Wednesday, April 17, 4 - 5 p.m. / Pico Branch
Thursday, April 18, 4 - 5 p.m. / Montana Avenue Branch
Personalize your own Zellij (Moroccan Mosaic) inspired bookmark for Arab American Heritage Month. The library will provide materials and bookmarks.

Yalla Read! Arab American Book Tasting
Wednesday, April 24, 3 - 5 p.m. / Main Library, courtyard

Drop in and explore the world through Arab American authors. From fantasy to biography, science fiction to romance, find your next favorite book and check it out.

We look forward to seeing you at the library! Friendly staff members are available to assist you and answer questions via phone (310) 458-8600, email library@santamonica.gov or in person at any of our full-service locations.

Authored By

Anna Sophia Alowayed
Librarian I


Arts, Culture & Fun, Library, The Arts