Arab Student Union celebrates Arab Heritage Month

Becca Green, Section Copy Editor

“Habibi” (my love), “sahtain” (double blessing), “yalla” (let’s go), “shukran” (thank you), “istiqlal” (independence), and “Eid Milad” (birthday) are several of the Arabic words that were heard by Jackson-Reed students on the morning announcements over the course of April. 

These daily announcements, along with PowerPoint slides in the Atrium, were one of the ways the Arab Student Union (ASU) at Jackson-Reed celebrated Arab Heritage Month. 

 By teaching key Arabic words each day, the union showed the complexity and beauty of the Arabic language. “The goal of this month is to share information about a part of the world that is so misunderstood,” said the founder of ASU, junior Karam Weigert. “The announcements are a great way to reach everyone and shed light about the beauty of the Arab world.”

Additionally, the slides in the atrium displayed the names of Arab countries, their capital, day of independence, and their national dish. The club has also spent the month preparing for Eid Al-Fitr, the annual three-day celebration that officially marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan in the Islamic faith. “This time is spent breaking the fast, spending time with loved ones, and celebrating,” Madeline Motes, a member of the ASU, said. 

The ASU plans on celebrating Eid Al-Fitr at Jackson-Reed on May 3 with traditional Arab desserts and various finger foods in the atrium for all students to enjoy. “We want to share Arab culture, what better way to do it than during Eid?” said ASU member Meysane Sekulic. 

After Arab Heritage Month is over, the ASU plans to continue spreading information about Arab culture and various issues concerning Arabs. Weigert explained that celebrating the many Arab students at Jackson-Reed makes them feel visible within the school. “Arabs come in all shapes and colors and creeds, but thanks to media representation, when people think Arab they think terrorist, desert, and hijabs, which is so incorrect.” 

Weigert concluded by remarking, “simply acknowledging the existence of the complexity of the culture seen across [Southwest Asia and North Africa] is the first step in celebrating the beauty that lies within the hearts and minds of every Arab student at this high school.” •