Recognitions and Holidays

April is National Fair Housing Month and National Arab American Heritage Month


National Fair Housing Month 

On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act which is the civil rights law that made discrimination in housing transactions unlawful. This year, we commemorate the 56th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the landmark civil rights law signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1968, that made discrimination in housing transactions unlawful. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, and familial status.

Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, a landlord may not… 

  • Refuse to rent or sell to an individual based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin or disability.  
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing.  
  • Make housing unavailable to an individual or family based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability. 
  • Establish different terms, conditions policies, and procedures for an individual or family based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin or disability.  
  • Provide different or separate housing facilities or services based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin or disability.  
  • Deny that housing is available for inspection or move in when in actuality the housing is ready and available for inspection.  
  • Persuade an owner to sell or rent their property for profit based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin or disability.  
  • Deny access to or membership in service or facility ordinarily provided to residents based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin or disability.  
  • Make, print, or distribute any statements, advertisements, or other printed material that discriminates on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin or disability. 

  1. Support to end discrimination in housing. Take part in activities that support the elimination of housing discrimination in your community or country.
  2. Welcome people of different backgrounds to your neighborhood.  Give a warm welcome to people moving in your community or belonging to a different background, race, or color.
  3. Arrange seminars to create awareness about housing discrimination.  Promote awareness for housing discrimination, let people know about this issue, and encourage them to raise their voices against it.​

National Arab American Heritage Month 

​​April is National Arab American Heritage Month. During this time, we celebrate Arab Americans throughout the past and present, and recognize their invaluable contributions to our country. It also serves as a time to combat Anti-Arab bigotry and to challenge stereotypes and prejudices. 

Arab American Heritage Month began as a 2017 initiative that only involved a few states and cities, but recognition has been steadily spreading since then. While it is still not officially federally recognized with permanent legislation, President Biden became the first U.S. president to issue a proclamation acknowledging Arab American Heritage Month in April 2021.  

Arab is not a race. “Arab” is a cultural and linguistic term. It refers to those who speak Arabic as their first language. 

Greetings, Gestures and Traditions 

  • Long handshakes, grasped elbows, and walking hand in hand by two males is common in the Arab world. 

  • Hugging only occurs between close friends. 

  • Only use the right hand to eat, touch and present gifts. 

  • Eye contact during discussions is often long and direct. 

  • Arab traditions include generosity and hospitality. 
​Arabic coffee (its preparation is also a form of cultural tradition) is served in small cups along with dates and sweets as a hospitality gesture offered to visitors, friends and family. 

Arabic is one of the oldest groups of languages in the world. 

Arab-American innovations include the invention of the ice cream cone (Ernest Hamwi) and the development of the artificial heart (Dr. Michael DeBakey). In fact, Arab Americans have excelled in every facet of American life. 

Arab American contributions have enriched the political, economic and cultural landscape of American life. Arab Americans are inventors and innovators; they are doctors and engineers; they are entrepreneurs, scientists, politicians, activists and entertainers. They are immigrants, or children and grandchildren of immigrants, whose hard work, determination, creativity, and commitment made it possible for them to succeed in their professions. Their achievements are as multifaceted as the communities from which they have emerged. And for everyone who has become a leader in their field, there are thousands of others whose unacknowledged contributions continue to impact all of us. 

​​Kathy Najimy.png 
Kathy Najimy is an award-winning stage and screen actress, having starred in films such as Sister Act and Hocus Pocus, and on television as the voice of Peggy Hill on the Emmy Award-winning animated series King of the Hill. As an activist, Najimy has been honored for her work with the LGBTQ+ community and for dedication to animal rights. She received the Humanitarian of the Year award in 2000 from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).   

 Sadam Ali.png
At the age of eight, Yemeni American Sadam Ali was inspired to start boxing by Yemeni British boxer “Prince” Naseem Hamed. When he was 17, Ali won the featherweight division of the 2006 National Golden Gloves Championship and a year later won the lightweight division. He represented Team USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. As a professional in the welterweight division, Ali remained undefeated for the first six years of his career and earned the title of WBO Junior Middleweight champ in 2017. 
Nujoud Merancy.png
Nujoud Merancy is a systems engineer that has worked with spacecraft and spaceflight since 2001. She is the Chief of the Exploration Mission Planning Office for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) where she manages the integration and design of the Artemis missions, which plan to land the first woman on the moon. Merancy made a splash on the internet in 2019 when she posted her official NASA photo featuring a blazer embroidered with Palestinian tatreez. Merancy’s Palestinian family, on her dad’s side, comes from Nazareth and she purchased the tatreez on a visit there, later having it custom tailored onto her blazer. 

In January 2019, Rashida Tlaib became the first Palestinian American woman in the U.S. Congress and one of the first Muslim American women to serve in the House of Representatives. Born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib is the eldest of 14 siblings. A tireless community advocate, Tlaib was the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan State Legislature in 2008. In 2018, Tlaib won the U.S. House of Representatives seat in Michigan’s 13th congressional district.