National Arab American Heritage Month takes place in April and celebrates the Arab American heritage and culture while paying tribute to the contributions of Arab Americans and Arabic-speaking Americans.

In 2022, President Biden became the first U.S. president to declare April as National Arab American Heritage Month, in recognition of the contributions of Arab Americans to the United States.

Ways to Celebrate:

Important Figures in the Arab American Community:

  • Candy Lightner After her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in 1980. Lightner is the driving force behind altering society’s attitude toward drunk driving. She is credited with saving over 400,000 lives through her advocacy.
  • Donna Shalala – Donna Shalala is an American politician and academic who served in the Carter and Clinton administrations, as well as in the U.S. House of Representatives. From 1993 to 2001, Shalala served as the 18th United States Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton. Shalala served as HHS secretary for all eight years of the Clinton administration, becoming the nation’s longest-serving HHS secretary, and the first Lebanese-American to serve in a Cabinet position.
  • Mona Hanna-Attish – Dr. Mona Hanna-Attish is a Michigan-based pediatrician, professor and public health advocate. In 2015, she held a press conference to talk about her early findings of elevated lead levels in children in Flint, Michigan, thereby exposing the Flint water crisis. She has continued to be a leader in the movement to address environmental injustices and health disparities affecting marginalized and underserved communities.
  • Naomi Shihab Nye – Naomi Shihab Nye is an Arab American poet, novelist, editor and songwriter. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.

Educational Resources: