Blog Posts Related to the Arab American Community
- Posted byon July 13, 2012 at 6:26 PM EDT
Yesterday, we had the opportunity to speak with 27 outstanding college and graduate students who were attending the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Young Leaders Summit. Currently in its 5th year, the summit is a weeklong civic training program that exposes the students to careers in public service and encourages increased engagement in their respective communities. As we sat around the table in the Roosevelt Room it proved to be an ideal setting for them to engage directly with senior Administration officials and share their own unique perspectives.
The students, whose studies range from psychology and the environment to finance and women’s studies, asked insightful questions around a variety of policy issues. The conversation touched on domestic and foreign policy. Ronnie Cho, an Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement and liaison to Young Americans, discussed the President’s work to address issues of concern to the next generation of Americans including college affordability and clean energy policy. Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett welcomed the students, encouraging them to share their stories, insights, and perspectives here in DC and also as they returned home.
- Posted byon June 7, 2012 at 2:48 PM EDT
Yesterday, we had a chance to hear directly from successful business leaders from the Muslim-American and Arab-American communities at a White House Roundtable on the Economy. We were hosted at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy for this first in a series of business roundtables around the country to gather advice on how to create an economy built to last by supporting small businesses.
The roundtable brought together entrepreneurs from a wide range of professions, ranging from IT specialists, physicians, and pharmacists to hoteliers and realtors—all of whom have created successful small businesses that are driving our economy. The conversation provided an ideal opportunity for Michael Strautmanis, a senior advisor to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and Kassie Lewis from the State of Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development to sit down and gather tangible feedback about what the federal government can do to address the challenges often faced by small business owners. For more than an hour we engaged in a frank and practical discussion about the things that small business leaders feel are important, including access to capital, bonding, the need for an educated, skill-based workforce, and the support needed to export their goods to international markets.
- Posted byon May 30, 2012 at 1:30 PM EDT
The more globalized and change-intensive the times, the more important it is to expand our knowledge of the world, near and far, past and present. Accordingly, the National Endowment for the Humanities has developed a Bridging Cultures initiative to highlight specific histories and cultural traditions of various communities around the world.
In this context, the NEH and White House Office of Public Engagement gathered together an audience on May 30th to hear from two scholars who have used NEH funding to explore places and moments in time when communities of Muslim women began to expand their legal rights. The presenters were:
- Posted byon March 26, 2012 at 1:49 PM EDT
On December 19, 2011 Secretary of Commerce John Bryson appointed Dee Alexander as his Senior Adviser on Native American Affairs. As the Department’s Tribal Consultation Official, Alexander’s principal responsibility is implementing the Department’s Tribal Coordination and Consultation Policy, per President’s Obama’s Executive Order 13175 (PDF), which ensures meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of policies that have tribal implications.
Alexander works closely with the Minority Business Development Agency and other Commerce bureaus to promote the Secretary’s vision for job creation and economic growth on American Indian and Alaska Native communities. As the Senior Adviser on Native American Affairs, Alexander is housed in the Secretary’s Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs.
- Posted byon February 28, 2012 at 9:03 PM EDT
Last week I had the honor of watching one of the best films I have seen in years. Thanks to the leadership of Secretary Hilda Solis, the Department of Labor (DOL) hosted a screening of A Better Life for students and Administration employees. The film follows Carlos Galindo, a father with the strength and determination to ensure a better life for his son Luis, while living in the shadows of Los Angeles, a place I called home for 9 years.
In front of an audience of nearly 300 stakeholders and guests, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis introduces and holds a discussion with film director Chris Weitz, Diane Cortez, OSHA Investigator; and Lucia Garcia, Wage & Hour Investigator before screening the 'A Better Life' on the evening of Thursday, February 16, 2012. (Photo Credit: Department of Labor)
- Posted byon December 19, 2011 at 4:45 PM EDT
This week I am being recognized as a Champion of Change for my work empowering Arab and Muslim Americans nationally through civic engagement, direct service and advocacy campaigns. Born in Brooklyn, New York to parents who emigrated here from Palestine and attending NYC public schools my whole life, I would say I was an ordinary kid with an ordinary life.
September 11th, 2001 was the most tragic day our country has ever faced and a day that has changed and reshaped who I am and determined the work I choose to do. In a matter of one day, I went from being an ordinary Brooklynite, New Yorker to one who shares a religion and ethnicity with terrorists. Growing up, my dream was to be a high school English teacher and to work in inner city schools to teach young people how to express their lives, their challenges and aspirations through writing. I hope that I will still venture on this endeavor in the future.
Two months after 9/11, I began volunteering in the Arab American community in Brooklyn which began my career as a local and national organizer. As the Advocacy and Civic Engagement Coordinator for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), I am able to connect communities to resources and to each other. The National Network for Arab American Communities is a network of 22 Arab American organizations in 10 states, including the District of Columbia. We work to build the capacity of local community based, grassroots organizations so that they can better serve, empower, represent and engage their constituencies in addressing challenges and issues they are facing in their local communities.
- Posted byon December 9, 2011 at 12:05 PM EDT
Since 1971, ACCESS has worked to serve new Americans as they transition to life in the United States as well as our neighbors in need more broadly. From their headquarters in Dearborn, ACCESS works to provide social services to the diverse communities of Michigan. While they are rooted in the Arab-American experience, they perform their work in a culturally sensitive way to empower Michiganders of all backgrounds seeking to steady themselves and their families in these tough economic times. They are truly a Champion Non-Profit that has evolved over the past four decades while both celebrating their rich history as Arabs and affirming their place as a critical part of our American family.
This is how the leaders of ACCESS describe the organization and their work:
ACCESS began with a small group of volunteers who got together 40 years ago to help new immigrants adjust to life in Dearborn, Michigan, pairing one of the most cherished and ingrained characteristics of their Arab heritage – hospitality – with the American tradition of giving back. Through English classes, tax assistance and help with other aspects of a complicated new life in the United States, the volunteers extended their hands to the newcomers – Armenians, Chaldeans, Yemenis, Iraqis, Palestinians and many others who came to the United States seeking a better life.
Today, ACCESS is the largest Arab American human services organization in the United States and offers more than 100 programs housed in eight facilities throughout metropolitan Detroit. Our immigration and translation services and English and civics classes make citizenship accessible for hundreds each year. Children, students and their parents have access to high-quality preschool, after-school tutoring, summer sessions, recreation and sports programs.
- Posted byon September 21, 2011 at 5:02 PM EDT
President Obama marked the 19th anniversary of the International Day of Peace with a series of meetings and events as he participated in the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. The President began his day with an address to the General Assembly, where he spoke about the remarkable changes that have occurred throughout the world since the last gathering of this group:
This year has been a time of extraordinary transformation. More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity.
Following the address, President Obama met with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and pledged America’s commitment to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. The Prime Minister agreed with President Obama's assertion that direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine are the only way to achieve that goal:
I think the Palestinians want to achieve a state through the international community, but they’re not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return. And my hope is that there will be other leaders in the world, responsible leaders, who will heed your call, Mr. President, and oppose this effort to shortcut peace negotiations -- in fact, to avoid them. Because I think that avoiding these negotiations is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians, and bad for peace.