By De’Sean Quinn, Assistant General Manager for Strategy and Partnerships
As we approach the end of April, I would like to take a moment to recognize Arab American Heritage Month, honor our Arab American colleagues at Metro, and celebrate the contributions of Arab Americans throughout history.
Earlier this month, Executive Dow Constantine proclaimed April as Arab American Heritage Month in King County. It has been observed during the month of April since 2017 and in 2021 President Joe Biden issued a national proclamation in support of the observance. An estimated 3.7 million Americans have Arab roots, with ancestries traced to 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa including: Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and others.
Arab Americans have made valuable contributions both in King County and throughout history in American society. To name a few:
- Palestinian American Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature in 2009, and then became the first Palestinian American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress in 2018. She, alongside U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, introduced the resolution to Congress to proclaim April as National Arab American Heritage Month.
- Egyptian American geologist Farouk El-Baz played a key role in the Apollo space missions, helping to select landing sites on the Moon.
- Lebanese American actor Tony Shalhoub received three Emmy Awards and for his role in the TV show, “Monk.”
These are only a few examples of the many contributions. I encourage you to spend time learning more about others and further explore the identity and culture of Arab Americans. To get started, visit: arabamerica.com/resources.
Metro stands with our Arab American community against hate and discrimination and commits to fighting structural and institutional racism toward Arab Americans. Recognizing heritage months provides us the opportunity to further seek, learn and better understand the rich cultures around us.