Coming Soon: Arab American Heritage Month

On Tuesday, November 9, 2010, Michigan State Representative Rashida Tlaib (D, 12th District) introduced House Bill 6555. The bill, co-sponsored by 24 other state representatives, would designate the month of April as Arab-American Heritage Month in Michigan.

I applaud the 25 representatives for introducing and supporting this measure. The Arab American community’s presence in Michigan has a rich history extending back over 100 years. Michigan has the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States and the second largest outside of the Middle East. It is one of the few communities within the state that continues to grow in both its size and impact. There is no better time to introduce a bill to recognize the contributions of Arab Americans in Michigan. (See the recent Time article, Arab-Americans: Detroit’s Unlikely Saviors)

Rep. Tlaib is both an Arab American and the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature. I am proud of her for leading this important initiative. At this time, New Jersey is the only state that has recognized an Arab American history month at the state level, which it enacted in 2008. I hope that Michigan will soon proclaim an Arab American History month of its own. Time will tell; the bill was just referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

HOUSE BILL No. 6555
November 9, 2010, Introduced by Reps. Tlaib, Scripps, Segal, Kandrevas, Liss, Slavens, Huckleberry, Roberts, Constan, Jackson, Johnson, Durhal, Stanley, Bledsoe, Roy Schmidt, Lemmons, Byrum, LeBlanc, Gregory, Geiss, Cushingberry, Warren, Gonzales, Corriveau and Polidori and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

A bill to designate the month of April of each year as Arab-American Heritage Month in the state of Michigan.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

Sec. 1. (1) The legislature recognizes the contributions that the Arab-American community of Michigan has made throughout the entire state. Since the early 1900s, several different populations and groups from Arab countries have migrated and flourished in this state. Michigan is home to the highest concentration of Arab-Americans in the United States. The Arab-American community of southeastern Michigan is known for its diversity, institutional leadership, and cultural outreach and is widely considered a center of Arab-American culture in the United States.

(2) In recognition of the contributions that the Arab-American community of Michigan has made, the legislature declares that the month of April of each year shall be known as “Arab-American Heritage Month”.

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