APWA community action

27 Jul

 

IMG_7480Friday, July 1st American Palestinian Women’s Association (PAWA) members orgamized, prepared, and served  a warm meal to a group of  homeless individuals.

IMG_7474 APWA volunteers and the entire Arab America team respectfully greetd and served each member of our homeless community and neighbors with the utmost of  grace.

IMG_7465A heartfelt thank you to the APWA volunteers who helped on the day of the event, a whole lot of APWA cooks and business supporters for donating your precious time and resources, and Arab America’s awesome team. With your help this effort was a huge success.

In the Spirit of Ramadan: Service and Fellowship

29 Jun

The American Palestinian Women’s Association
Serving Dinner to 200 Homeless Individuals
July 1st, 2016
5 PM
916 G St. NW, Washington, DC.

featured1On Friday, July 1st, the last Friday of Ramadan, American Palestinian Women’s Association (PAWA) is organizing, preparing, and serving  dinner to a group of homeless individuals in support of Arab America’s  Ramadan feeding program “Hummus for the Homeless”.

With the help of generous donors from Arab and Muslim Americans, Arab America’s “Hummus for the Homeless” program has provided hummus and a warm dinner to DC’s homeless community on every Friday during Ramadan. This Friday, APWA volunteers will serve 200 homeless individuals at 5 pm, at 916 G St. NW, Washington, DC.

Ramadan is a time of giving back, reflecting on one’s life, and reminding one’s self of the less fortunate who suffer day to day. Ramadan Kareem.

Below is a list of requested donations

  • Hummus
  • Bread
  • Rice and Pasta dishes
  • Pizza
  • Salad
  • Watermelon

They are also accepting the following donations

  • Botteled Water
  • Small soaps
  • Laundry soap (small)
  • Sanitary napkins (small box)

Please deliver the food or other items by 3:30 pm to Catholic Charities at 916 G St. NW Washington, DC 20001. If you need assistance when you’re delivering, call (313) 617-6000 or (313) 999-6000. If you are interested in being part of this effort, or for more information, please text *(202) 374 6045.

Stop the Hate: Enough Heartache and Sorrow

14 Jun

Grief-Statue_thumb

The American Palestinian Women’s Association family and community grieve for the victims of the shooting in Orlando, Florida. We stand in solidarity with the members of the LGBTQ community against hate and bigotry. Intolerance of one group is intolerance of all. The unjust cruelty that the LBGTQ community has suffered has deeply saddened our community and nation.

Our children, some of whom identify as LGBTQ, must be able to feel safe in their space, and wherever they choose to live, work, congregate, party, or simply play. The shooting that occurred in Orlando was a tragedy that should have never taken place. Those who died were innocent victims of an inexcusable act of violence.

In honor of the victims, we urge our members to reach out to their LBGTQ friends and neighbors and assure them that we stand with them in calling for the end of hate and affirm in words and action that we will not tolerate any form of bias against members of the LBGTQ community. With this in mind, we appeal to all members of our community to speak out against all forms of hate, prejudice, and violence against members of the LBGTQ community, and all and any group member of our community, because when one of us hurts, we all hurt.

While we recognize that no one group or any individual could wipe away the deep pain felt by the grieving survivors, the LBGTQ community, and our nation, we pray for the complete healing of the survivors, and the families and loved ones of those killed. Only compassion and love would heal, comfort and repair the hearts of the injured and anguished. By extending sincere tenderness and respect towards all Americans regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, faith, ethnicity, and national origin we can build the nation we desire, want, and ought to be.

Today onwards, we shall commit to work hard to rid our country from the hate that is consuming and injuring our nation. Our ultimate desire and comfort will be realized when such barbaric acts of violence are never again perpetrated against the LBGTQ community or any member of our beloved community.

Dr. Mai Abdul Rahman
President
American Palestinian Women’s Association

 

 

Ramadan Kareem

6 Jun

Today marks the beginning of the Holy month of Ramadan. Muslims devote the entire month of Ramadan (the 9th month of the lunar calendar) to thoughtful reflection, fasting, prayer, giving, and atonement.
images-1

May this month of Ramadan be a blessing to all mankind.

The Holy month of Ramadan is dedicated to soul searching, sharing, and penance. Ramadan Kareem or ‘Generous Ramadan’ describes the deeds that are dedicated throughout the month of giving of oneself to others- giving generously- through constructive acts of kindness.

For those of means it requires her to share her wealth with those in need, and by being considerate, forgiving, compassionate, and selfless. For those without the means sharing a kind word, a smile, a warm greeting, and if possible sharing a meal is an expression of the spirit of the Holy month of Ramadan. Whether giving or receiving there is a blessing and grace in each exchange.

Ramadan requires Muslims to demonstrate their faith through meaningful acts of kindness towards others that are meant to mend the heart, soul, and health of the individual and community. It is a reminder of our shared responsibility towards the less fortunate and an affirmation that each of us has the means to make a difference. Devoted purposeful deeds that are centered on self-examination, prayer, and compassionate giving heal and bless the givers and receivers. Hence, Ramadan is believed to be full of blessings (Mubarak).

Ramadan Mubarak to one and all!

images

International Mothers Day Bazaar

20 Apr

American Palestinian Women’s Association (APWA)image001.png

Bridging cultures for a brighter future

AMERICAN PALESTINIAN WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION

*

INTERNATIONAL MOTHERS DAY BAZAAR

*

SATURDAY, MAY 14th 2016

10AM – 4PM

AT THE ISLAMIC CENTER

Embassy Row

2551 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Washington D.C.

*

Featuring Palestinian Crafts, 

Holy Land Olive Carvings,

Embroidered Palestinian Ethnic Clutches and Handbags,

Collectable Candle Urns and Carvings,

Nabulsi Soaps, Rumi Olive Oil, Handmade Hebron Pottery, Books, Scarves, Gifts,

&

Palestinian Homemade Foods, Baked Goods, Pastries…

**

No Entry Fee & the Event is Open to the Public

**

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

Happy Easter: عيد فصح مجيد

27 Mar

عيد فصح مجيد وكل عام وانتم بالف خير
Happy Easter

images

For Palestinian Christians, Easter marks the most important and very first Holy event their ancestors commemorated.

Happy Easter to each and all!

What to Make of the US Feminists’ Disregard of Arab American Women?

18 Mar

Arab American women are highly educated, have higher labor force participation rates than most Americans, earn higher incomes than average Americans, and are well represented in every professional sector, yet their collective contribution to community and country are glossed over and unappreciated. This glaring omission is attributed to deeply embedded prejudice that taints all Arab Americans, an outmoded narrow US racial construct of group identity that Arab American women transcend, and their shared core belief that wars and occupation harms the two worlds’ they love.

mai abdul rahman    March 2016

abdulhadi_book

This March, Americans celebrated the remarkable achievements of American women, and the important role the US feminist movement has played in breaking the gender barrier and shaping the gender discourse in the US. No one can deny the relevance of the US feminist movement in advancing American women’s rights. Likewise, none can dispute that since the 1800′s Arab American women have continued to push through the glass ceiling, yet few are aware of their significant contributions in the US. While the Eurocentric and micro political orientation of the feminist movement in the US heavily contributes to the exclusion of Arab American women, however it is not the sole factor.

Deep-rooted bias towards Arab Americans has influenced the US feminist views of Arab American women. Specifically, stereotypical inferences of Arab American women contribute to the historical failure of the US feminist movement from including Arab American women’s narrative in the US gender discourse. Furthermore, the dynamic inter-lapping nature of US mediums and institutions continue to reinforce disparaging views of Arab American women and their community across every sector including the media, arts, academia, civil society, political organizations, public policy, and American popular culture. While Arab American women’s historical role in advocating for gender equity, and their considerable success in breaking the gender barrier in the US is ignored, they are well represented in every professional sector. Nonetheless, archaic views of Arab American women continue to be peddled in every US medium.

Moreover, Arab American women’s decades long principled opposition to the Iraq war and Israel’s occupation policies did not align with the mainstream views of the vast majority of Americans. Arab American women’s consistent objection to US policies in the Middle East was in contradiction with the publicly accepted position of the US political establishment. Today, most Americans believe the US Iraq war as an unnecessary costly fete, and many are aware of the tragic cost of subsidizing Israel’s occupation of Palestine, but these views slowly developed and after many years of apathetic silence.Woman Hiding behind An American Flag

For decades, and in spite of the political correctness that mums most Americans, Arab American women invariably stepped up challenging Americans to assess their accepted notions. Arab American women stood apart from the mainstream consensus by calling attention to the human and financial cost of US policies in the Middle East. Arab American women’s unique and long-standing position on the US- Iraq invasion, decades long wars, and Israel’s military occupation of Palestine contributes to their conspicuous absence from the US gender discourse.

Regardless, Arab American women joined the US labor force several decades before the emancipation of women in the US. In the late 18th and early 19th Century, Arab American women were business owners responsible for seeding numerous profitable business enterprises across the US. They were America’s first wholesale women entrepreneurs whose successful business ventures enriched their communities and their states’ tax coffers. And while their American experience was considerably more difficult than most American women due to the inherent cultural bias against women of Arab descent, a considerable number of Arab American women were first to break the gender barrier. As a group they are highly educated, have higher labor force participation rates than most Americans, and earn higher incomes than average Americans.

The US feminist movement is largely shaped by the US colonial paradigm. By and large, the US feminist movement is dismissive of the role and contributions of other American women of color, and continues to struggle to accommodate African American women, Asian American women, Latinas, and Native American women. While the US feminist narrative has made some effort to include these four distinct ethnic classifications, today, most women don’t fit well in the simple categories that define American women whether by US feminists or others in the US. As a matter of fact, the US scheme, which adheres to distinct racial identities, is too narrow and limiting to capture the complexity of centric and overlapping identities of any group of American women. These categorical distinctions are outdated and restrictive, and should be challenged.

For example, Arab American women ancestral roots stretch from the African Atlas Mountains to the longest inhabited cities along the Mediterranean Sea, and across the Arabian Desert. Arab American women are White, Brown, Black, and represent every shade and color in between. They are atheists, agnostics, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. They adopt and comprise several macro and micro identities. Arab American women are African, European, Hispanic and Latin American. For example, Pop star Shakira, is Colombian, Arab, and American, and the well known Hollywood actress and producer Salma Hayek is Mexican, Arab, and American.The complex nature of the racial, ethnic, and religious make up of Arab American women transcend the fragmented and narrow descriptive definitions that most Americans observe.

eipostcard-1American attitudes towards Arab American women are rooted in the historical racial divisiveness and biases that our country has struggled with since its inception. In July 16, 1901 Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette carried an article entitled “Don’t Like Arabs,” where Arab Americans were collectively smeared and openly attacked. While it is true that during that period America’s middle class overall projected a patronizing attitudes towards immigrants, indigenous populations, and Southern Europeans, Arab American women suffered more disdain than most. Interestingly, the earliest Arab American women were Christian, but their Christian faith did not spare them.

Early Arab American women were members of the Eastern Christian culture of Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho, Damascus, Byblos, and Beirut- their ancestral claim to these ancient Biblical cities was of no help to them or their community.images While they made every effort to live and raise their families within the folds of their new country, they lived in communities that shunned them and ostracized their families and faith.

Since the 19th Century, Arab American women have advocated for gender equity. Afifa Karam (1883-1924) an Arab American feminist devoted many of her articles shedding light on the unique challenges that shaped Arab American women’s early experience in the US. Karam defended the rights of women, and addressed the social and economic factors that delayed woman’s progress. Her writings were serialized and published in Al-Hoda magazine, an Arab American women’s magazine that was established in 1903. Her work sheds light on the evolution and structural prejudice practices that still influence a wide range of US social and political institutions that continue to vilify Arab American women, their families and community. In fact, a considerable number of Arab American women writers substantiate the structural biases that Arab American women and their community have endured since the early 1800′s.

More specifically, the role of Arab American women organizations in speaking out against the US invasion of Iraq, consistent opposition to Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, Israel’s img_3058biannual Gaza wars and continuous siege, the use of US taxes to build and sustain Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, and Israel’s wars and incursions in Lebanon were often misconstrued as illegitimate and erroneous, and in opposition to American values.

Despite the justifiable reasons for calling on the US government to genuinely support policies that would bring an end to Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, and Gaza siege that equally harms Palestinians and Israelis, most Americans are inclined to accept their government’s policies than critically evaluate the human cost or political implications of these policies. Additionally, Arab American women’s opposition to US surveillance tactics and torture practices, contrasted with the vast majority of Americans who accepted the use of these extreme measures.

The US feminist movement’s adoption of the prevailing US social and political structural perimeters has helped it secure its prominence within the US establishment. Unfortunately, this has made it less relevant to most American women. The structural biases that provide the US feminist movement the acceptance it needs to remain pertinent to the US political elite and establishment requires it to disregard Arab American women, and their political and social contributions. While Arab American women are not the only segment of American women ignored by the US feminist establishment, their systematic exclusion has been consistent since the 1800’s. Meanwhile, Arab American women continue to play a crucial role in raising awareness of the most relevant issues that face our nation.

As a group Arab American women don’t neatly fit in any categorical scheme. Arab American women’s fluid and unique ability to adopt overlapping ethnicities allows them to identify with a host of social and political struggles that are often neglected by the US feminist movement. Their macro view of gender equality encompasses the domestic and universal struggle for social justice and equality. Consequently, Arab American women feminists are more aligned with the global women’s movement.

While many in the US still refuse to recognize Arab American women’s considerable accomplishments, no one can dispute that since the 1800′s, they have made enormous contributions in breaking the gender barrier and creating the space for American women to follow. More critically their advocacy for social justice here and abroad has challenged Americans to question their common assumptions. Meanwhile, their visceral understanding that wars and occupation harms both the victims and victimizers in equal measure, where each leaves lasting unshakable scars on the perpetrators and their victims will continue to ire American interventionists and the US establishment.

Your support continues to make a difference!

15 Mar

unnamed

In 2014, APWA committed to financially support Ammar El-Ali, regain his speech and address his hearing and learning deficits. Ammar is a Palestinian refugee, and at the time he was barely three years old. This last February, Ammar turned five, and for the past two years of his young life, APWA has played an important role in providing him the necessary supportive systems to regain his hearing and speaking skills, and the nurturing environment to help him acquire the appropriate social skills.

unnamed-3

Ammar was born in the Palestinian refugee camp of Sabra and Shattila (Beirut, Lebanon), but for the support of caring Americans he was bound to be deaf and mute. In 2014, arrangements were made to fly him and his mother to Toledo where an entire medical team was assembled to perform the necessary evaluation and procedures to help Ammar restore his hearing. All involved donated their time and service to cover Ammar’s cochlear implant and outfit him with his hearing aid. The first phase of his treatment was a huge success, but his physicians were concerned with Ammar’s next phase of recovery and development, which was to take place soon after he returns to the refugee camp. To address the second phase of Ammar’s recovery APWA committed to cover  Ammar’s therapy and counseling costs.

Ammar needed to be around normal children in a supportive environment, to help him develop his hearing, understand the spoken word, learn to speak, augment his social skills, and prepare him for his educational journey. APWA agreed to provide him the financial support to attend school, engage with peers and caring teachers, and access to the supportive systems he needs to overcome the loss of three critical years of his cognitive and social development. These resources were made available to Ammar so that he could develop his hearing, speaking, and social skills. While these fundamental skills are critical prerequisites for Ammar’s recovery and his intellectual and personal growth, they are of extreme importance to his social integration in school, community, and future success.

unnamed-1

Since 2014, APWA  has provided the necessary funds to  provide Ammar access to the services that are crucial to his cognitive and social development. In Ammar’s case attending kindergarten provides him with an educationally rich environment that he critically needs. APWA made it possible for Ammar to daily engage with caring adults who attend to his needs, peer-to-peer relationships he desperately needs to develop his social competencies, and a sense of stability that children of all ages crave.

Specifically, APWA is offering indispensable financial aid to cover the cost of Ammar’s schooling at Beit Atfal Assamoud’s (Home of the Children of Sumud) (BAS) educational program, which is also known as The National Institution of Social Care & Vocational Training. Ammar has made a valiant effort to recover his hearing.  He continues to improve, but he still struggles with speech and language delays. This is due to the loss of three years of hearing. Which is not unusual, considering that children develop their language and speaking skills during the early formative years (1-3 years). Although Ammar continues to struggle to speak he has fully recovered his hearing, which in due time will help him become a fluent speaker and lead to his full recovery.

APWA is making every effort to ensure the necessary resources are available to Ammar. We plan to continue funding Ammar’s recovery until he regains his speech and becomes fully functional capable of meeting his school obligations. Nevertheless, without the support of the APWA community this could not be possible.  APWA is invested in Ammar’s full recovery and for the long haul. To that end, we hope you will contribute to Ammar’s fund. Please send your donations to: American Palestinian Women’s Association /Ammar’s Fund: 4800 Chowan Avenue, Alexandria, VA. 22312.

Thank you!

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

Bethlehem Christmas Service at the National Cathedral

15 Dec

Beth_GloriaInExcelsis

On December 19th at 10:00 Am, Washington, DC worshipers will gather in the nave of the National Cathedral  for the ninth annual joint simulcast Christmas service with the people of Bethlehem. Prayers, readings, and hymns alternate between Washington, D.C., and Palestine via the Internet, bringing together people of different lands, languages, and ethnic backgrounds in celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace. The event is streamed live and can be viewed on line.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

15 Dec

A beautiful Arabic Hymn written in the 7th Century. It is usually sung by Palestinain Orthodox church choirs on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to one and all…