SCR 123 by Sen. Newman Commemorates April as Arab American Heritage Month

Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 123, authored by State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), was adopted by the California State Senate today with unanimous support. SCR 123 commemorates the month of April as “Arab American Heritage Month” in California and recognizes the important contributions of Arab Americans to our state.

“SCR 123 is part of a broader effort toward creating awareness and paying respect to California’s approximately 800,000 Arab American residents. In addition, SCR 123 celebrates the achievements of Arab American Californians and highlights their commitment and contributions to their communities,” said Senator Newman (D-Fullerton).

In addition to presenting SCR 123 on the Senate Floor today, Senator Newman also welcomed and introduced the following Arab American leaders in their respective regions:

  • Rashad Al-Dabbagh, Executive Director, Arab American Civic Council
  • Serge Bakalian, Founder and Executive Director, Arab Film and Media Institute
  • Basim Elkarra, Executive Director, CAIR-Sacramento (Council on American Islamic Relations)
  • Mirvette Judeh, Vice Chair, Arab American Civic Council
  • Maria Khani, Founder and Director, A Country Called Syria

For well over a century, Arab Americans have been making valuable contributions to virtually every aspect of American society, to include leadership and groundbreaking contributions in medicine, law, business, technology, government, and culture.

Senate District 29, which Newman represents, has the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the state, in a region in Anaheim called “Little Arabia”. The State of California boasts the largest population of Arab Americans in the Country, with a population of approximately 800,000.

Senator Josh Newman represents the 29th Senate District, which includes cities across Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino Counties.

Events to attend during Arab American Heritage Month

We are excited to celebrate April as Arab American Heritage Month during the month of April of this year - a time when we can celebrate our heritage and encourage our fellow Americans to appreciate our tremendous contributions to our nation. 

Arab Americans have been an integral part of America for hundreds of years and have contributed tremendously to our nation in various aspects and fields.

April 2018 is a special opportunity to enhance understanding of diverse Arab American heritage that is often forgotten or perhaps avoided by the media. We continuously encourage communities to (1) learn more about and engage with Arab Americans, (2) attend Arab American events in the community, (3) encourage our local community to visit Little Arabia, and (3) support organization that help integrate new immigrants from the Arab World.

Here are some Arab American events happening locally during the month of April: 

AAHM.jpg

For the first time in America..

For the first time In USA, Egyptian super star singer Ahmed Saad, 36, will be performing at Anaheim's Rose Cafe on Saturday night, March 17, 2018. 

Saad is known for singing film scores such as “Al-shabah i.e. The ghost” and “Dokkaan Shehaata”. His brother is actor Amr Saad. 

Also joining him this Saturday is actress/singer and Ahmad Saad's own wife Somaya El Khashab, 

Memories will be made at this unforgettable Egyptian night so be sure to RSVP by calling 714-635-3333. Tickets Starts at $59, which includes dinner.

See more details at the event's Facebook page here

28783629_1855080657849966_8408367904998367478_n.jpg

Yalla America Radio commemorates the life and legacy of Joseph Haiek

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 3.25.13 PM.png

YALLA America Radio, which launched today, will strive to showcase Arab American success stories once a month on the 2nd Friday of the month at 2PM (P.S.T.) by bringing you guests that exemplify Arab Americans ON THE GO!

The show started with guest Caternia Haiek who shared her father Joseph R. Haiek's life journey and legacy!

The Arab American community recently lost Joseph, who had been in failing health for a while, while he was on a tip to Egypt with his daughter Caterina where he celebrated his 85th birthday in December and received a prestigious award from the Association of Egyptian American Scholars. 

He was honored for his life's work over more than 45 years representing, presenting and documenting the Arab American experience.

Joseph R. Haiek was a pioneer in the Arab American community.

Anaheim mayoral candidate vows to designate Little Arabia if elected

 Photo: Gaston Castellanos

Photo: Gaston Castellanos

During a community fundraising reception held for Anaheim Mayoral candidate Ashleigh Aitken on December 9th, the candidate was asked whether she would support the official designation of Little Arabia District. The reception was held at Olive Tree Restaurant. 

Although residents, elected officials, and the media refer to the Brookhurst corridor in West Anaheim as "Little Arabia" it is yet to be designated officially by the city council. In order to set up a freeway sign on the I-5 off the Brookhurst exit, the city must first designate Little Arabia and request that the State place the sign, in a resolution that would be voted on by the Anaheim City Council. 

Aitken, the current front runner, responded to the question with an enthusiastic "you know I am [going to support the designation of Little Arabia." 

For her full answer, click here to watch the video. 

On August 30th, Aitken took a tour of Little Arabia visiting several businesses in the district and meeting with various business owner to discuss challenges and opportunities. Among those she visited were Nara Bistro, Little Arabia Restaurant, Kareem's Falafel, Al Sanabel Bakery, Aleppo's Kitchen, and others. 

Sen. Newman hosts "Falafel Meet & Greet"

 [Photo: Lou Delgado]

[Photo: Lou Delgado]

Senator josh Newman, who was the author of last April Arab American Heritage Month proclamation, held a "Falafel Meet & Greet" at Little Arabia Lebanese Bakery & Cusine this past Sunday.  The Senator is currently campaigning against a recall effort against him. 

On his campaign Facebook page, Sen. Newman wrote the following after the event: 

Food is one of those things that brings us together.
Today, the Arab-American Caucus of the California Democratic Party graciously co-hosted Senator Josh Newman (SD29) and Senator Connie Leyva (SD20). Arab-Americans are a vital part of the social and economic fabric of the Senators' neighboring districts, from Anaheim to San Bernardino.
As members of the Arab-American community shared their hopes and concerns with our Senators over falafel, it became clear that we are at our best when every Californian enjoys the promise of safety, education, and economic opportunity. Josh Newman and Connie Leyva will continue to fight for Arab-Americans and their full inclusion in our shared prosperity.
Many thanks and compliments to Little Arabia Restaurant for the delicious food and welcoming space!

OC Weekly's 2017 Best Middle Eastern Restaurant is...

Once again, Olive Tree Restaurant has been chosen by the OC Weekly as Orange County's best Middle Eastern restaurant. After its recent relocation, the restaurant has added new menu items, an outdoor patio seating, live entertainment on select days, and late night night hours. 

The Olive Tree Restaurant was chosen Best Middle Eastern restaurant previously in 2011 and 2012. 

Read more here.

22279915_10155449851498141_3825527984587950500_n.jpg

Refugees will share a Ramadan meal with locals at Olive Tree

The Arab American Civic Council will host a Ramadan iftar dinner to welcome refugee families into our communities on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at Olive Tree Restaurant in Anaheim’s Little Arabia. 

The purpose of this event is to welcome newly-arrived refugee families and help them integrate into our community. The event will also feature the release of the #RefugeesWelcome guidebook - a bilingual multi-platform guidebook for refugees resettling in the Greater LA Area. 

This event is the second of its kind. Last year, the Arab American Civic Council hosted a similar iftar dinner during the month of Ramadan at the same restaurant. See this KPCC report and this Los Angeles Times report from last year’s event.

Tickets can be purchased at this link.