ARAB AMERICAN CULTURE
Arab Americans are a diverse people who come from all walks of life. Many have different origin stories, but all share a deep pride and respect for their heritages. Arabs are typically defined as Arabic-speaking with shared histories and come from one of twenty-two Arab countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
The role of the Arab American Heritage Council is not to define Arab American identity, but to highlight, represent, and preserve Arab culture for the many Arab American communities in the Greater Flint area.
The Arab American Heritage Council has a lot of educational opportunities including scholarships and educational events hosted by the AAHC, other organizations, and schools. Below is a list of some of the programming that the AAHC holds:
Speaking events with various authors, professors, and intellectuals.
Educational outreach to community schools and organizations for three primary topics:
- Arab Americans 101
- Middle Eastern/Arab history and politics
- Arab culture/Dabke/Fashion/Food
Cultural sensitivity and diversity workshops
The Arab American Heritage Council is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Arab Culture in the Flint community. The AAHC accomplishes its goals to support Arab Culture by hosting events to showcase different cultural practices. Below are examples of cultural events hosted by the AAHC:
- Arab Film Festival
- Arabic Musical Performances
- Trips to Dearborn and the Arab American National Museum
- Cultural Diversity/Competency Workshops
- Arab Dabka Performances
Unity in Diversity
On February 23, 2019 the AAHC was honored to be a part of the annual Unity in Diversity event. This event seeks to build bridges of communication, support, & understanding among the diverse cultures, nationalities, races, genders. and religions that make up our community. Executive Director, Devin Bathish, taught the audience about the history of the Dabke and then had everyone participate in the Dabke together.
Arab Film Festivals
The Arab film festivals highlight achievements in film by Arab filmmakers. The 2019 film festival highlighted Arab identity and Arab immigrant experiences. This event was hosted at the Flint Intercultural Center and was organized by Lucine Jarrah. Additional standout events include the 2013 Arab Film Festival which featured the “Lahza Project” that highlighted the experiences of refugee children.
Speaking at Baker College
On March 28, 2019, AAHC Executive Director, Devin Bathish, spoke at Baker College about his family’s story of immigrating to the United States. He also spoke about the diversity of Arab identity in the United States and across the world. Many of the students were amazed at how diverse the Arab world is and how much they learned.
Boys and Girls Club
On January 11, 2018, our Executive Director, Devin Bathish, started off the year by hosting an educational event for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint. Devin demonstrated Arab fashion, culture, and language. At the end, everyone participated in an Arabic line dance, the dabke. The children really enjoyed it!
Taste of Culture
On May 11, 2019, the AAHC participated in the “Taste of Culture” event organized by Communities First. The event was held at the Flint Masonic temple where 250 people attended. Executive Director, Devin Bathish, set up a table where he showcased his Palestinian heritage. He invited attendees to try on a Keffiyeh, as well as learn how to write their names in Arabic.