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September Community Announcements

Get involved this September with ACCC and community events across the Bay Area.
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The ACCC's 17th Annual Arab Cultural Festival is coming up soon - be sure to mark your calendars and join us on October 1st in Union Square! You'll find more about the festival below, as well as information about how to sign up for children's Arabic classes at the ACCC. But don't wait until October to get involved - check out our community announcements to learn about great events around the Bay Area this month, and keep reading to find out how you can help our friends at the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) combat censorship. As you may have read, MECA's exhibit "A Child's View from Gaza" has been pulled by the Museum of Children's Art in Oakland. The ACCC was a co-sponsor of this event and we are greatly saddened by what has happened. We urge all community members to sign and submit this letter.


A Call to Action from MECA’s Executive Director Barbara Lubin

Dear Friends,

On Thursday, September 8, 2011, MECA received the disturbing news that the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) in Oakland decided to cancel “A Child’s View From Gaza,” an exhibit of Palestinian children’s art. After months of planning and establishing a close partnership with the museum, we were saddened to learn that the children of Gaza would be denied the opportunity to share their experiences, art, and creativity with the Bay Area community.  For 23 years, MECA has been a witness to how pro-Israel organizations can intimidate groups and individuals who try to present the reality and perspectives of Palestinians.

When I asked the MOCHA’s Board President Hilmon Sorey, with whom we met on Thursday, “Who wins?” he could not provide  an answer. I said, “The museum certainly doesn’t win. MECA doesn’t win. The people of the Bay Area don’t win either. It is the children in Gaza, who have lost so much already, who lose again.” The only winners here are those who are supporters of Israeli occupation and brutality; who continue to spend millions of dollars censoring any criticism of Israel, and in this instance have succeeded to silence the voices of children who live every day under military siege and occupation.

All of us at MECA understand all too well the enormous pressure that the museum came under from pro-Israel groups. But we are deeply disappointed by this decision, and I ask you to join us in expressing our concern and urging the museum to reverse its decision. Please send an email today to the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland urging them to reconsider and support your right to see and hear the message of the children of Gaza. 

Thank you.

Barbara Lubin
Executive Director
Middle East Children’s Alliance

The Arab Spring in Palestine

"The Arab Spring:  the Promise and the Illusion,” a presentation by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb of Bethlehem, the West Bank.

Grace Lutheran Church 
3149 Waverley Street, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Sunday, September 18, 2011
From 2:30pm – 5:30 pm
Learn what is happening in Palestine during this time of the Arab Spring. The speaker, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, a Bethlehem native, educated in Germany, is an author, educator, visionary, and peacemaker. His topic will be “The Arab Spring: the Promise and the Illusion.” In 1995, Rev. Raheb led the small Christmas Lutheran Church in assessing the needs of the Bethlehem community.  Sixteen years later the little town of Bethlehem has a grade school, high school, a health and wellness center, an elder care program, a young families program, a leadership program for young adults and a four-year college, Dar al-Kalima College, specializing in the practical arts, film-making, computer graphics, tourism and design. These programs have enrolled people from all three faiths:  Muslim, Christian, and Jewish.
This will be an outdoor event with live Palestinian music, Middle Eastern refreshments, prize winning student documentaries and a souk (gift bazaar). For more information, contact Martha Meyer, 650-854-7228 or Pastor Matt Smuts, 650-494-1212.

Diana Abu-Jaber Speaks in the Bay Area 

In support of her new book, Birds of Paradise, award-winning author Diana Abu-Jaber will come to the Bay Area in September. Diana Abu-Jaber is also the author of the award-winning memoir, The Language of Baklava, and the best-selling novels Origin and Crescent. She will appear in Corte Madera and Danville on September 26th: 
1pm at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Boulevard, Corte Madera, CA
7pm at Rakestraw Books, 522 Hartz Avenue, Danville, CA

Zeit O Za’atar: Arts and Social Justice

Youth Hip Hop Workshop at AROC, Friday, September 30th from 5 to 8 pm
518 Valencia St., San Francisco
The Arab Cultural and Community Center and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) have come together to produce a provocative series of workshops and cultural productions that address issues of social justice that are of concern to our communities. The first event is a hip hop workshop and performance for all youth to join, with Omar Offendum, world famous Syrian American hip hop artist. 

Sign Up Now for 11 sessions of Modern Standard Arabic classes (written and spoken) for youth (ages 5-16) 

DATES: Every Saturday beginning September 24th through December 17th, EXCEPT: October 1st (Arab Cultural Festival) and November 26th (Thanksgiving)
TIME: 11 am - 2 pm
TUITION: $155 per student for non-members (with $15 off for each subsequent child)  and $140 per student for ACCC members

To register: fill out this application and mail it to the ACCC (2 plaza street, San Francisco, CA 94116) or scan & email it to info@arabculturalcenter.org. You may also bring it to the first day of classes.

Participate in Research on Arab Immigrants

Kanhong Lin is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at San Jose State University. Lin says: "I am currently researching elderly Arab immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area to understand and document the experiences and lives of the Bay Area’s elderly Arab population, help community organizations better understand how to develop and implement programs to assist the elderly Arab population. Participants must be first generation immigrants who are older than 60 years old and who are from an Arabic speaking country. Interviews will be conducted in English or Arabic." To participate, email: kanhong.lin@gmail.com.

Arab Cultural Festival October 1st in Union Square

Be sure to mark your calendars to join us on October 1st from 12 to 6 pm for the 17th Annual Arab Cultural Festival! This year's event will feature great food from local Arab restaurants, exciting arts and crafts, kids' activities and performances by Al-Juthoor, Alsarah and the Nubatones (unplugged), Faisal Zedan, Naser Musa, Omar Offendum and Salma Habib. 

All ACCC and community members should get involved - if you want to volunteer at the festival for a two-hour shift, give us a call at 415-664-2200 or email info@arabculturalcenter.org. We need your help to make this our best festival yet.
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2 Plaza Street
San Francisco, California 94116

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