Sunday, March 09, 2014

Quote of the Day

"This Caucus keeps our eyes open to the rest of the world."  - Betty Yee, California State Board of Equalization Member on the California Democratic Party's Arab American Caucus


Friday, February 07, 2014

Community Leaders Join Mayor Tait for 'A Taste of Anaheim' in Little Arabia

The Arab American Civic Council in partnership with Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait's "Hi Neighbor" initiative, a neighborhood outreach campaign, hosted a community summit titled 'A Taste of Anaheim' on Wednesday to facilitate meaningful relationships and build bridges between various west Anaheim community groups and local Arab American community leaders. The event was held at Papa Hassan's Grill in the area widely known as the Little Arabia district of Anaheim.

SEE: Anaheim "Shawarma" Summit Marks New Era for Little Arabia - OC Weekly

The summit took place only a week after Mayor Tait encouraged 
residents to visit Little Arabia during the annual State of the City address following a strategic outreach plan by the Arab American Civic Council.

"We all know that Anaheim has some of the most authentic and diverse neighborhoods in the state. Our city is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the U.S. Take for example, Brookhurst Street, or as the locals refer to it, Little Arabia," said Mayor Tait during his speech.  "Home to halal butcher shops, restaurants, beauty salons, travel agencies, bakeries and more, this neighborhood is really a cultural destination in our city. Whether you are stopping by Olive Tree for delicious lamb or picking up some baklava at Papa Hassan's, Little Arabia gives visitors a different experience than a typical convention city."

The invited stakeholders shared their vision of the future of West Anaheim and established partnerships in order to promote community/economic development for the local residents and businesses. Among the participants were representatives from the Offices of Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Sen. Lou Correa, Assm. Sharon Quirk-Sliva, and Sup. Shawn Nelson, as well as longstanding Chairwoman of West Anaheim Neighborhood Development Council (WAND), the CEO of the Anaheim Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau, and the Director of Access California Services.

"Little Arabia has the potential to become one of the most popular cultural and tourist destinations in Anaheim due to its organic and culturally hospitable restaurants, shopping charm and media attention generated in the last fifteen years. In order for this ambitious project to be implemented effectively, we need a majority of the stakeholders at the table to decide and agree on this path of development," said Rida Hamida, co-founder of the Arab American Civic Council.  "
It's about the community at large; if the City and Convention Bureau participate in redirecting the tourists to eat and shop in Little Arabia, it would lead to enhancing the lives and well-being of the people that reside and work there by addressing their concerns."

PHOTOS: A Taste of Anaheim with Special Guest Mayor Tom Tait 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mayor Tait's shout out to Anaheim's Little Arabia

With a renewed push by the Arab American Civic Council, Anaheim's Little Arabia district is receiving citywide attention. During the State of the City address, an event held by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Jan. 28th, Mayor Tait encouraged more than 600 attendees to visit Little Arabia and try some of the best authentic food in Orange County!
"We all know that Anaheim has some of the most authentic and diverse neighborhoods in the state. Our city is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the U.S. Take for example, Brookhurst Street, or as the locals refer to it, Little Arabia. 
"Home to halal butcher shops, restaurants, beauty salons, travel agencies, bakeries and more, this neighborhood is really a cultural destination in our city. Whether you are stopping by Olive Tree for delicious lamb or picking up some baklava at Papa Hassan's, Little Arabia gives visitors a different experience than a typical convention city."
Read the Mayor's entire speech here.


Monday, January 20, 2014

NAAP's Toledo Chapter Spearheading 'Medeast in the Midwest' Census Project

Over the past weekend, I joined representatives of 10 chapters of the Network of Arab American Professionals (NAAP), the premier network for Arab Americans, met for their biannual assembly meeting. The purpose of the meeting, which was held in Washington DC, was to coordinate and strategize for the year ahead on both national and local levels.

As a former employee at the US Census Bureau, I was impressed an initiative by NAAP's newest chapter, which is the one in Toledo. The chapter's founder Nadeem Salem is working with the Toledo Blade, the city's main newspaper, on a special project known as Mideast in the Midwest, to document the people in the Toledo area who trace their heritage to the Greater Middle East.

Read the story here

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Friend of Arab Americans LA County Sheriff Baca Retires

LA County Sheriff Lee Baca announced his retirement today. He was a friend of the Arab-American community and has collaborated with community organization to help build a better understanding between Arab and Muslims and the general US public.

During Rep. Peter King's bigoted Muslim "radicalization" hearing, Baca said that after years of dialogue, the Muslim community is reaching out to law enforcement with “emerging confidence.”

"The truth is that Muslims are just as independent, just as feisty, just as concerned about safety. They certainly don’t want their homes or their mosque blown up. And thereby as individuals, they have been doing things with local law enforcement as individuals without the cover of an organization."

Baca said fighting terrorism is like fighting gang violence – law enforcement needs information and needs it early.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Yemeni Film & Arts Festival Comes to Los Angeles

The first-ever International Yemeni Film & Arts Festival comes to Los Angeles on January 18 and 19, 2014! Hosted by the Yemen Peace Project and the Goethe Institut, this two-day event will include screenings of 20 films by filmmakers from Yemen and around the world, discussions with YPP staff and special guests, and exhibitions of new photography from Yemen.

Photographs will be on display on the Goethe Institut patio from 1:00pm – 8:30pm on Saturday the 18th, and 2:00pm – 8:30pm on Sunday the 19th.

There will be five sessions of film screenings; each session will include multiple films and a discussion of the films and their themes.

Special rates may be available for groups. Please contact YPP for details.  More info here

Friday, December 20, 2013

Kafranbel Comes to Los Angeles this Weekend!

Two of Syria's most renowned activists will be in the LA area this weekend: Raed Fares and Razan Ghazzawi. 

Raed Fares is the man behind Kafranbel's famous banners, demonstrations and political cartoons. He is one the first to demonstrate against the regime in Kafranbel and organized several demonstrations in neighboring villages. The 41 year-old peaceful revolutionary continued to protest against tyranny after the regime sent its army to occupy and besiege the city and lived its liberation battle and covered it too day by day on his youtube channel. He was forced to leave his home and go underground along with other revolutionaries in fear of systematic detention which targeted many of his friends who aren't released thus far. Raed is now the head of media center at the city of Kafranbel and he hasn't left Syria ever since the revolution started in march 2011. He's now publishing silent short films to describe the revolution and its outcomes after three years of the revolution. Raed is married with three children.

Razan Ghazzawi is a blogger from Syria who started blogging using an alias, Golaniya, when Israel launched a war against Lebanon in 2006. She blogged against racism towards Syrian workers in Lebanon, where she completed her master’s degree. Razan started blogging under her real name two years later advocating along many Syrian bloggers for freedom of speech in her country. When the Syrian revolution broke out in March 2011, Razan was among those who disseminated updates on demonstrations taking place across Syria using her real name. She was detained twice during the revolution due to her work with the Syrian Center for Media Freedom. Her colleagues, bloggers Hussein Ghrer and Hani Zetani and her boss Mazen Darwich, are still in prison ever since regime security forces raided SCM office in Damascus 16th February 2012. Razan received a Front Line Defenders award in 2012.

Sunday 12/22 - Holiday Inn - La Mirada
Sunday 12/22 - Claremont