Introducing Arab American Heritage Month

On March 31, 2023, President Joe Biden proclaimed April as National Arab American Heritage Month, recognizing that the “achievements of Arab Americans are reflected in the arts and sciences; in businesses and faith communities; in classrooms and hospitals; and in police stations, firehouses, and every branch of the military.”1  To some, the recognition of a community of over 3.7 million is long overdue, given the long-term exposure to prejudice and bigotry stemming from ignorance and encouraged by pop culture and media.2  President Biden’s proclamation is monumental as the first time in U.S. history that a president has formally recognized and honored the Arab American community.

For National Arab American Heritage Month, NWOCC celebrates Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a first-generation Palestinian American spearheading the resolution to recognize April as National Arab American Heritage Month.

Congresswoman Tlaib’s story as an irrepressible first-generation American is inspirational and may be familiar to other first-generation Americans. While helping to raise her siblings and navigating the language barrier for her family in Detroit, Congresswoman Tlaib pursued higher education relentlessly, culminating in a Juris Doctor from Cooley Law School.3 

Never forgetting her roots or community, Congresswoman Tlaib became the first Muslim woman elected to Michigan’s State Legislature in 2008, followed by an admirable career as a nonprofit attorney providing free legal representation for workers.4  In 2019, Congresswoman Tlaib was elected to serve as the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s then-13th congressional district, becoming the first woman of Palestinian descent and one of the first two Muslim women in Congress.5  She is one of the four original members of “The Squad,” an informal group of young, womxn of color lawmakers within the U.S. House of Representatives known for their progressive stance in policy and representation of a younger generation’s political voice.6 

Now, along with her colleague Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Congresswoman Tlaib champions “House Resolution 297 – Expressing support for the recognition of April as National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) and celebrating the heritage and culture of Arab Americans in the United States.”7  Congresswoman Tlaib introduced the bill on April 13, 2023, detailing a brief, yet powerful summary of Arab American history from as far back as 1527 to present.8

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress—

(1) supports the designation of the month of April of each year as National Arab American Heritage Month;

(2) esteems the integral role of Arab Americans in the economy, culture, and identity of the United States; and

(3) urges the people of the United States to serve National Arab American Heritage Month with appropriate programs and activities that recognize and celebrate the unique contributions of Arab Americans.9

By: Megan Lee

Vice President & COO


  1.  Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, Proclamation 10539-Arab American Heritage Month, 2023, govinfo, (March 31, 2023),

  2.  National Arab American Demographics, Arab American Institute,, (last visited, Apr. 16, 2023).

  3.  AAHM Spotlight Rashida Tlaib, Office of Global Michigan, (last visited Apr. 16, 2023.) 

  4. Id.
  5.  Herndon, Astead W., Rashida Tlaib, with Primary Win, Is Poised to Become First Muslim Woman in Congress, The New York Times, Aug. 8, 2018,

  6.  Sullivan, Kate., Here Are the 4 Congresswomen Known as ‘the Squad’ Targeted by Trump’s Racist Tweets, CNN, July 15, 2019,

  7.  Text – H.Res.297 – 118th Congress (2023-2024): Expressing support for the recognition of April as National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) and celebrating the heritage and culture of Arab Americans in the United States, H.Res.297, 118th Cong. (2023),

  8. Id.
  9. Id.

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