April Arab American Heritage Month

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April Arab American Heritage Month


A tour of Arabs of Chicagoland by Ray Hanania
On Dec. 14, 2018, the Governor of Illinois signed a law that designates the month of April as Arab American Heritage Month. The law was introduced by Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.

Public Act 100-1150: AN ACT concerning government

HB5971 Enrolled

LRB100 23891 RJF 42960 b

WHEREAS, It is appropriate and right to celebrate a diversity of cultures and heritages, and such celebration serves as a reminder that despite our differing backgrounds, everyone in Illinois is bound by a common hope for a better and more inclusive future for our children; and

WHEREAS, The Arab American community has a long and integral history in the United States; and

WHEREAS, For over a century, Arab Americans have been making valuable contributions to virtually every aspect of American society, including medicine, law, business, technology, government, and culture; and

WHEREAS, Tens of thousands of Arab Americans have served during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after September 11, 2001; and

WHEREAS, The history of Arab Americans in American life often remains neglected and has been riddled with misunderstanding and bigotry; and

WHEREAS, Men and women of Arab descent have shared their rich culture, strong work ethic, and dedication to education, while embracing the American spirit of opportunity and helping us build a better nation and State for all; and

WHEREAS, It is estimated that there are approximately 450,000 people of Arab American descent in Illinois with more than 100,000 Arab American voters registered; and

WHEREAS, We recognize and celebrate the contributions to cultural diversity, economic growth, and the overall development of our State and nation made by the Arab American community; therefore

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:

Section 5. The State Commemorative Dates Act is amended by adding Section 6 as follows:

(5 ILCS 490/6 new)
Sec. 6. Arab American Heritage Month. The month of April of each year is designated as Arab American Heritage Month to be observed throughout the State as a month to recognize the valuable contributions of Arab Americans to this State and to the various aspects of American society.

Click here to view the legislation online.

Effective Date: 12/14/2018

Photographic Array of Arabs in Chicagoland
Plus an Interview with WBEZ 848 Host Steve Edwards on the Arabs of Chicagoland

A Brief History of Arabs in Illinois:

Click here for a History of Arabs in Chicagoland

A typical Arab Christmas. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

A typical Arab Christmas. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania


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