American Palestinian Women’s Association believes in our young DREAMers

29 Sep

We call President Trump and Congress to commit to the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which was established by the Obama Administration via executive order in 2012.

DACA allows young migrant immigrants who entered the country without documents to receive two-years period of deferred action from deportation and the eligibility for work permits. We call on President Trump and Congress to uphold and protect the basic human rights of DACA recipients and their families.

Targeting DACA recipients and other immigrant communities will devastate the lives of thousands of young people and their families, and unnerve the entire immigrant community across our nation.


We believe in our DREAMers and call President Trump and Congress to protect them, their families, and other immigrant communities who have meaningfully contributed to our society. Doing otherwise would not improve our national security,  but would painfully separate young people from their families, and traumatize their communities.

These young DREAMers have positively contributed to our communities and country and deserve our collective support. We urge the Trump Administration and Congress to come together and pass bipartisan legislation to allow them to remain in the United States.


عيد مبارك Eid Mubarak and Many Happy Returns

26 Jun

Happy Easter and "Kull-Aam-Waantum-Bikhair"

In the spirit of the Eid that marks the end of Ramadan, American Palestinian Women’s Association extends its warmest wishes to each and all.

APWA Iftar: Honoring International Refugee Day

Blessed Eid to the entire APWA community- Muslims, Christians, Jewish, spiritual, non religious, or non faith. Your support fules our passion and desire to create and build a collective “social consciousness about being one and together.”

May you, your family, and loved ones throughout the year enjoy the fruits of your communal sharing, caring, and giving.

عيد مبارك


A Heartfelt Thank You!

10 Jun


This past year, APWA supported and funded Leonard Education
Organization (LEO), a woman run non-profit NGO. 
LEO facilitates the US college admission and matriculation 
of Palestinian youth.


Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 11.09.35 PM

LEO scholar Yazen Meqbil, Majoring in Molecular Biology and Bio Chemistry at Goshen Collge

A Heartfelt thank you!

I wish to offer American Palestinian Women’s Association (APWA) our appreciation for supporting Leonard Education Organization (LEO), whose main objective is to offer Palestinian youth an American college education that would improve their future prospects and help build the intelectual capital of the Palestinian people.

Right before the 2017 Spring Semester, APWA organized and held a fund raiser for the benefit of LEO at the home of an APWA member and founder. On that cold and cloudy Saturday afternoon, APWA members, supporters, and guests gathered around to enjoy a warm afternoon tea with LEO’s executive director Deya’ Leonard Dresner, along with local LEO students, board members, and donors.

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 11.28.03 PM

The group listened attentively as our students recounted the process that LEO funds and requires each of its recipients to complete- which includes completing the usual; college applications and interviews, SAT and TOEFL Exams- and the unusual; travel permits to exit Palestine and prpare for their first plane trip away from home. They also shared their college campus experiences and spoke of the many challenges they faced and conquered here in the US and at home.

Soon after the spring semester began, we asked APWA to cover the cost of  textbooks for our college students.  And again APWA did not fail us. APWA supplied our students with their respective course textbooks, without which their education would have been compromised.

I urge you to read LEO Stories, which offers a glimpse of the amazing success these young Palestinians have accomplished in a span of a year- much credit belongs to APWA for making this possible.

Again, thank you to APWA and its members. Your support has allowed LEO to fulfill its mission- prepare, mentor, and secure the best college education for Palestinian youth.

Deya’ Leonard Dresner
Executive Director
Leonard Education Organization

Deya' Leonard Dresner, is an American Palestinian woman. She is the 
founder and executive director of Leonard Education Organization ( LEO ),
a non-profit NGO.


Honoring World Refugee Day: Ramadan Iftar

19 May


Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 11.02.17 PM 

Honoring World Refugee Day



Saturday June 17, 2017

6 PM- 10 PM


Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ

Carpenter Hall

5010 Little Falls Road

Arlington, Virginia




Remembering the Nakba, Poetry, Music, Book Discussion,


Traditional Palestinian Iftar 

Promptly Served at Sunset


Entry Fee $25 (adults) & $15 (minors under 14 years)


APWA is a non-profit organization under the IRS code 501(c)(3) 

IQraa: ‘Running for a brighter Palestine’

20 Apr

IQraa (read in Arabic) is kicking off its 2017 running campaign in May. IQraa is a non-partisan and non-political group with one specific goal, which IQraa clearly declares on it’s racing team shirts: ‘Running for a brighter Palestine‘.


American Palestinian Women’s Association (APWA) has supported IQraa since its inception- APWA members helped found IQraa, fielded runners and volunteered for IQraa, and our members have funded IQraa’s laudable objective. Needless to say, APWA and countless of others are invested in the continued success of IQraa.

Here is why: Since 2008, IQraa’s 148 runners and dedicated volunteers have raised more than $208,000 for United Palestinian Appeal (UPA)-implemented education projects. In 2016 alone, IQraa raised over $20,000, enough to fund about 20 student scholarships. The addition of one more Iqraa runner will make a huge difference in supporting the eduction of one more college student for an entire year. IQraa volunteers also earn hours for manning and coordinating training and race stations, which translates to direct funding IQraa from race organizers.

If you are a first time runner, running for IQraa is a great opportunity that would help you to train for a marathon, half-marathon, 5K or 10K, and also support the education of Palestinian youth. And if you are an avid runner you can run in your chosen race as an IQraa runner (at a local race or abroad as far as Athens). If not inclined to run or volunteer, you can sponsor an IQraa runner.

2017iqraagroupFor more info about IQraa please visit their web site, or read this article.

Feel free to forward the attached one page flyer to friends and colleagues or post on your bulletins Iqraa 2017 Info Flyer .

The First Day of Spring is Mother’s Day in Palestine

21 Mar

Since 1956, Palestinians have celebrated Mother’s Day on March 21st- the first day of Spring (Spring equinox).


Palestinians and 19 Arab nations celebrate Mother’s Day on March 21st- the first day of spring.

On Mother’s Day, Palestinians honor mothers as well as the maternal bonds that extend to grandmothers, aunts, and female family members, which Palestinians have traditionally regarded as sacred relations that link families and connect them to past and future generations. During Mother’s Day public events are held to honor the influence of Palestinian mothers on family and society.

On the occasion of Mothers’ Day for some and the advent of Spring for all, may your day be filled with(فرح) happiness and (صحة جيدة) excellent emotional and physical health.


Oud player and music composer, Marcel Khalife (مارسيل خليفة) sings “To My Mother إلى أمي”-  written by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (محمود درويش), which captures the poets personal experience as a political prisoner who longs to return home to be with his mother.

To My Mother
أحنُّ إلى خبز أُمي
I long for my mother’s bread
وقهوة أُمي
And my mother’s coffee
ولمسة أُمي..
And my mother’s touch…
وتكبرُ فيَّ الطفولةُ
My childhood grows within me
يومًا على صدر يومِ
Day after day
وأعشَقُ عمرِي لأني
I love my living life because
إذا مُتُّ،
If I died
أخجل من دمع أُمي!
My mother’s tears will mortify me
خذيني، إذا عدتُ يومًا
Take me, if I return one day
وشاحًا لهُدْبِكْ
A scarf for your lashes
وغطّي عظامي بعشب
And cover my bones with grass
تعمَّد من طهر كعبك
Baptized by the purity of your ankle
وشُدّي وثاقي ..
Untie my shackles
بخصلة شَعر ..
With a lock of your hair
بخيطٍ يلوِّح في ذيل ثوبك ..
With a thread gleaming at the helm of your thoub-dress
عساني أصيرُ
Perhaps I will become
إلهًا أصير ..
A god I would become
إذا ما لمستُ قرارة قلبك
But, if  I could  touch the tranquility of your heart
ضعيني، إذا ما رجعتُ
Set me, if I ever return
وقودًا بتنور ناركْ ..
Fuel to light your fire
وحبل غسيل على سطح دارك
Clothes line on your roof
لأني فقدتُ الوقوفَ
Because I lost my strength to stand
بدون صلاة نهارك
Without your daily prayers
هَرِمْتُ، فردّي نجوم الطفولة
Old I have become… return me to the stars of childhood
حتى أُشارك
So I can chart my homeward journey
صغار العصافير
With the fledgling sparrow chicks
درب الرجوع ..
The return pathway
لعُش انتظارِك
To your awaiting  nest


Valentine Letter to America

13 Feb

It would be an understatement to suggest that the confusion and despair that has engulfed our nation is not troubling if not at times depressing. Nonetheless, a new political awakening is taking shape that is heartwarming and promising.

mai abdul rahman                   February, 2017


While some Americans are clinging to the past, the unfolding present is asserting a forgotten American vision- a untied and indivisible nation with liberty and justice for all. During the Woman’s March on Washington, DC, Americans of every stripe demonstrated their resolve to end the practice of exclusionary politics that privileged the few. Collectively, they sent President Trump and his political agents a clear message: dismissing the rights of Americans will be challenged. Since then, millions of Americans are rejecting the politics of division and fear that has ruined the reputation of millions of Americans, and facilitated the robbing of their rights.

The U.S. political system has been the exclusive domain of America’s dominant culture and its political elites. Concurrently, the social privileges of the dominant culture and its prejudicial attitudes have been transmitted and reproduced throughout the U.S. political system. This made it possible to dismiss and ignore the rights of Americans outside the U.S. centric social construct. Unchallenged, the dominant political class shaped the American political discourse and influenced U.S. legislative policies. In the meantime, the interplay and utility of  fear helped spawn institutional bias of citizens considered outside the dominant political culture. Consequently, the U.S. political system rendered status and full constitutional protections to some Americans, and suspended the constitutional rights of other Americans.

After the election of President Trump, millions of Americans have time and again stood side by side to denounce bigotry and hate. gettyimages-632287522_slide-dd0cdc47115cc7c17152c8d4bffd893dfc7f7260-1-1020x680Across this vast nation, daily peaceful demonstrations, vigils, marches, and act of solidarity are uncovering a compassionate America that was for far too long closeted and hidden from view.

In the midst of bewilderment and confusion, a new American vision is unfolding. While still budding and its success is still a distant promise, the organic nature and inclusiveness of this movement has engendered wide appeal as well as scorn. Much like past American social movements, the non-violent nature of this new evolving mass movement is being tested.

The future success of this new organic American mass movement will depend on the foresight, deliberate planning, persistence, and organizational skills of average Americans, and their ability to anticipate and respond to the many who will challenge their objectives. If successful, these Americans will help create an inclusive political paradigm that protects the rights and liberties of all of Americans- not just the few. In the meantime, a new narrative is forming to challenge the politics of fear and exclusion.images-1

The Invisible Influence of the Palestinian Christians

22 Dec

On Christmas Day, worshipers across this country will hold bibles that bear the faithful diligence of the forefathers of present day Palestinian Christians; and Protestant and Catholic clerics will display the ecclesiastical vestments that invoke Palestinian traditional dalmatic embroidery.

mai abdul rahman                  Christmas 2016


This Christmas, pastors will quote the scripture that was elucidated by the Palestinian scholar  Procopius of Gaza, and bishops will bear their ecclesiastical vestments that display Palestinian traditional dalmatic embroidery that was first worn by Palestinian clerics. bethlehem2

The Christians of Palestine trace their faith to the very first disciples. Nonetheless, Americans continue to ask Palestinian Christians “When did you convert?” Unaware, that the Palestinian Christians whether they reside in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or Israel represent the uninterrupted presence of the very first church.

The history and narrative of the Palestinian Christians dates back to the very first cross and church. Since the birth of Jesus, the Christians of Palestine have provided fellow Christians an authentic account of the early Christian experience, and their scholars have helped clerics and worshipers contextualize the bible verses they cite and read. Because of their close proximity and relationship to the first disciples, Palestinian scholars played a critical role in spreading the Christian faith, yet few are aware of their role in documenting the personal experience of the first Christians.  Palestinian Christians’ direct link to the disciples provided scholars and historians an intimate knowledge of the personal religious experience of the first Christians. Their accounts helped shape the Christian narrative.

The Palestinian Christians are the living extension of the first church. For two thousand years, they have faithfully maintained the oldest churches in Christendom. images-1They have preserved the ancient gardens where Jesus prayed, tended and harvested the olive trees that shaded Jesus and his disciples, and when their communities are besieged and bombed, they have used their sanctuaries to shelter and accommodate the earnest prayer of fellow Palestinians- Christian or Muslim.

So why do most Americans choose to ignore the Christians of Palestine and dismiss their early scholars? read-arabic-biblePalestinians have largely assumed that their Arabic bible, liturgies, and sermons, and Arab Semitic ancestral heritage are the core reasons that their community is forsaken and their scholarship is omitted and forgotten.

Regardless, Christians owe much to the faithful work and witness of the early Palestinian Christians, and many a pilgrim owes them gratitude for their persistent stewardship of Christendom’s first churches. Like their ancestors before them, the Christians of Palestine continue to practice their faith traditions and preserve their churches while living under an Israeli military occupation that limits their access to their holy places- they are a testament to their ancestors, the Palestinian people, and faith.

Standing with Our Jewish Sisters Against Anti-Semitism, Bigotry and Hate

12 Dec

Like other Americans of conscience, we are alarmed by the recent rise of unfiltered offensive rhetoric against fellow Americans that is threatening our core American values and the safety of our children.


In the wake of the recent xenophobic wave that has been articulated and observed during and after the US presidential election, many of our Jewish sisters are legitimately anxious and worried about the recent rise in anti-Semitism. While Americans of Palestinian and Arab decent are Semites too, our community is concerned about the Jewish directed anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Our shared Semitic roots and values compel us to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Jewish sisters to protect the dignity of our children and defend their right to live free of fear, anxiety, and stress. To that end, APWA denounces and rejects all forms and expressions of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, racism, and bigotry.

If you agree with the spirit of this statement, please download  the attached APWA flier. Please feel free to share and post the flier on your community bulletins.


Thank you,

Mai Abdul Rahman
American Palestinian Women’s Association

APWA: Spreading the Love of Music Among Young Palestinians

3 Dec

Since 2015, American Palestinian Women’s Association has provided music scholarships to young Palestinians. This year in particular, APWA is proud to have sponsored two young Palestinians who have shown a strong interest in learning and sharing their love of music.


During the last two years, APWA has sponsored the music education of young Palestinian students (2 each year) who attend Jenin’s Alkamandjati School of Music.

Here is how your contributions have helped APWA fund the music education of young Palestinians: For two years and counting, APWA has covered the weekly cost of 15 hours of individual and group music lessons for two young Palestinian students. This includes funding the cost of music theory lessons (2 hour), individual lesson (3 hours); and group music lessons: orchestra (4 hours), oriental ensemble (4 hours), and chamber music (2 hour). In addition, APWA covers the cost of its female scholarship recipients’ in the ‘Jadalya’ ensemble- a music group comprised of young Palestinian female musicians.

This year, your support has made it possible for APWA to fund the music education of Nadine Nazzal and Fadi Basha. While still young in years, Nadine and Fadi aspire to use their music education to improve their future prospects.

Nadine Nazaal (13) dreams of becoming a music teacher when she grows up.

APWA has covered the music education of Nadine Nazzal (13), who dreams of becoming a music teacher when she grows up. Watch Nadine as she plays her flute, which we hope will give you an additional incentive to support APWA.

APWA has also funded the music education of Fadi Basha (17 years). His teachers and peers recognize Fadi’s exceptional talent, and  earnest desire to become a skilled violinist. Fadi’s hard work has paid off. Recently, Fadi was invited to participate in national and international musical festivals and tours.

Fadi Basha (17) a promising young violinist (far left).

APWA is proud to have played a small part in nourishing and cultivating Fadi’s love of music, which he unequivocally declares in this brief clip:

Your support has made it possible for APWA to fund the musical education of four Palestinian youth. Your donation ensures APWA commits to funding the education of many more young Palestinians whether these youth aspire to become accomplished musicians or learn the fundamentals of playing a musical instrument just for the joy of it. Help us continue spreading the joy of music among young Palestinians-Thank you.

Mai Abdul Rahman

Your support matters. Please send your donations to:
American Palestinian Women’s Association
4800 Chowan Avenue
Alexandria, VA. 22312