Ten Ways To Celebrate Arab American Heritage Month This Year

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated March 11, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Every April is Arab American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate Arab American culture and individual contributions throughout history. From virtual events and resources to in-person work within communities, there are several options for honoring this month respectfully and with intention.

In April, take the time to learn, appreciate, and honor Arab American culture while considering how to reduce stigma and raise awareness for challenges in this community. You can also look at a few events or activities to take part in this month, including resources for learning about each option. 

Ten ways to celebrate Arab American Heritage Month

Below are ten ways to celebrate Arab American Heritage Month this year. Whether you are an Arab American or want to learn more about this culture, many activities are available.  

1. Watch films and documentaries by and about Arab American communities

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) celebrates Arab American Heritage Month annually by offering a list of films and documentaries from the Arab American community. Take advantage of this resource by reviewing each year's list of movies, each contributing a unique look into the experiences or through the lens of Arab Americans.

The 2022 list of films included Syrian Plight from the series Muslim Youth Voices, a documentary in which filmmaker Dunya Khalil relates the stories of Syrian refugee youth and children. Another film, Natour's Grocery, centers on the filmmaker's family story and parents' emigration from Palestine to Appomattox, Virginia. Somalia: A Nation of Poets explores Somalia's oral culture and poetry. An additional six films and short films illustrate the diverse experiences of Arab Americans and how the cultures intertwine.

2. Sponsor a school

Arab America Foundation is a national media organization devoted to promoting an accurate understanding of Arab and Arab American communities. One of their tools for supporting that vision is their National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) Educational Curriculum Kit. The resource details educational lessons like the history of Arab migration to America and an overview of the geography of Arab countries. Additionally, it covers Arab American diversity, including faith, language, customs, traditions, challenges, and contributions to politics, education, and other areas.

By sponsoring a school, your funds allow a school of your choice to receive an Educational Curriculum Kit that they can use to teach students more about Arab and Arab American culture. While some schools have already received this kit or pledged to plan events, spread information, or celebrate Arab American Heritage Month in other ways, others may benefit from this educational opportunity. 

Historically, Arab and Arab American history has sometimes been ignored, glossed over, or misrepresented in school systems. This misinformation causes damage and stigma for those of Arab descent, which can last longer than their elementary or high school learning. By amplifying the voices of Arab Americans through educational resources like the Educational Curriculum Kit, you can play a part in reversing the misinformation about Arab American culture. If you know of a school in your area that can use the toolkit, you can go to AAF's donation page and select "Send Educator's Curriculum Kit."

3. Choose a book from a past winner of the Arab American National Museum Book Awards

The Arab American National Museum, located in Dearborn, Michigan, organizes a yearly contest to discover literary works written by Arab American authors. Since 2007, authors nationwide have been encouraged to submit their work, with finalists announced for several categories. Winners are named in adult fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and children's or young adult literature. However, authors are welcome to submit work exploring another literary genre.

The site shows all the winners and honorable mentions from 2007 to 2022, announcing the winters each late fall. While you wait to hear the 2023 winners, you can explore past winners like 2022's winners: Find Bride of the Sea, a fictional work by Eman Quotah, Return to Ruin: Iraqi Narratives of Exile and Nostalgia by Zinab Saleh, The Wild Fox of Yemen, a work of poetry by Threa Almontaser, and Home is Not a County, a children's/young adult book by Safia Elhillo.

Each book on the award list is accompanied by a summary of the story and an author description that touches upon their background and literary achievements. You'll also find quick links to purchase each book from one of many online bookstores, some of which are independently owned. 

4. Explore Arab and Arab American history

Even if you're not interested in history, finding out more about Arab American history is one way to celebrate this month's events. Because Arab and Arab American history may not be thoroughly covered in primary and secondary school lessons, educating yourself on the true history of the community can be an essential part of building an accurate understanding. 

5. Look at the Smithsonian Institution's assortments 

The Smithsonian Institution, a museum, research, and education organization, has a unique variety of oral histories and artifacts available online. It includes images of art, notable documents like the Southern Federation of Syrian Clubs bulletin page, and photographs from throughout Arab American history. This originated from Dr. Alixa Naff, who devoted her time to documenting and telling the stories of Arab Americans. You can also read more about her story and projects while exploring her assortments.

6. Visit the Arab American Museum 

The Arab American Museum also offers a series of extensive exhibit assortments, each covering a different facet of Arab American history and culture. These include video tours of the exhibits, audio descriptions of the artifacts, and educational resources to guide student learning. Some of these are viewable for free online for patrons who can't visit the museum in person.

7. Consider TeachMideast 

Educators and lifelong learners can find more learning materials from TeachMideast. Offering well-researched lists of resource material, the site offers a way to start your exploration of Arab American history. You'll find links to books, articles, movies, and more, all divided into categories based on the facet of Arab American history or culture they focus on.

8. Support Arab American politicians in the US

In 2022, there were historic victories for politicians and representatives of all backgrounds, but there are still opportunities to support growth and change in the representation of the political system. Almost 100 Arab American candidates were on ballots nationwide in November 2020, and several won their hard-fought victories. One way to honor this month is by learning more and spreading awareness to keep that forward momentum in representation.

There are various ways to support Arab American politicians. First, educating yourself on the history and present status of Arab American political representation can help you understand what areas may benefit from the most support. You can also read up on candidates who won recent elections or learn more about candidates running for office in the coming elections.

With your new knowledge about the current state of political representation for Arab Americans in your area and nationwide, you may choose to support representatives financially. Donating money or time through volunteer work to a local representative can spread awareness about their mission. 

9. Promote inclusion and diversity in your community

Discrimination, stereotyping, and prejudice against people of the Arab American community still exist in the US and worldwide. This bias generates other issues like poverty and wealth gaps, unobtainability to healthcare and housing, and psychological distress that can exacerbate mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

As you celebrate Arab American Heritage Month, encourage and empower your community to promote equity, respect, diversity, and inclusion. Supporting equity happens within larger communities, workplaces, schools, friend groups, and homes. 

There are many opportunities for individuals to promote equity, whether speaking up against microaggressions in the workplace, evaluating systems that defend Arab Americans and other people in the community, or educating our families on Arab American stereotypes and accurate cultural portrayals. 

You can learn more about the importance of representation in schools and media, how teachers make an impact every day, and find suggestions for expanding your understanding of prejudice against Arab Americans from the California Teachers Association.

10. Support your mental health and the mental health of your community 

Supporting the mental health of Arab American individuals and communities can be integral to creating and maintaining equity. Because of the impact discrimination can have on mental health, individuals who experience prejudice may be at risk of developing mental health conditions. Opening the dialogue about treatment options can be essential in reinforcing the emphasis on mental health and empowerment to seek treatment. 

Some people, including cultural, ethnic, and racial minorities, may struggle to find obtainable mental healthcare face-to-face. In these cases, it may be possible to find culturally informed care online through a platform like BetterHelp. While it may be challenging to locate a counselor in your area who is uniquely qualified to support you in managing discrimination, adjusting to a new culture, or standing up to bias in the workplace, taking an online platform's initial questionnaire can help you locate a licensed therapist best suited to empathize with you and assist you in reaching your goals. You can schedule appointments at times that are compatible with your schedule, and there's no need to leave work or home to attend therapy. 

Online cognitive-behavioral therapy is a popular treatment mode used by some online therapists to help clients reframe unwanted thought patterns and beliefs. Some people who face discrimination experience symptoms of anxiety or depression as a result. Working with a therapist online has been shown to effectively treat anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, and other mental health conditions. 

If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources. Support is available 24/7.


Whether you're struggling to manage discrimination in various contexts of your life or hoping to become better-informed or more proactive in countering discrimination that you observe, therapy can be a valuable place to develop resiliency, assertiveness, and active listening skills. Your therapist can work with you non-judgmentally to help you reach your goals and connect you with resources. Contact a provider online or in your area to get started.
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