April 2024 Monthly Acknowledgements

April is National Arab American Heritage Month. It is a month to celebrate the achievements, contributions, and heritage of Arab Americans. The U.S. is home to more than 3.5 million Arab Americans whose heritage includes different languages, cultures, faiths, and ethnic identities. Arab Americans have ancestry in one of 22 Arab-speaking countries in southwest Asia and northern Africa.

National Arab American Heritage Month provides an opportunity to seek to understand the unique experiences of Arab Americans by learning about Arab American history, Arab American diversity, and the challenges encountered by Arab Americans. The Arab American community continues to experience racial profiling, xenophobia, intimidation, hate crimes, hyper policing, and other challenges that stem from an intensifying anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment. It is reported that Islamophobia has risen to post 9/11 levels or higher.

Perhaps learning about Arab cultures and the lived experiences of Arab Americans—including our coworkers, students, and neighbors—will help us become disruptors of misconceptions and prejudice and builders of safe, welcoming spaces for all.

Passover will be observed April 22-30. Passover is one of Judaism’s most sacred and widely observed holidays. It is a remembrance of the Israelites’ exodus from ancient Egypt. Traditional Passover observances include special meals filled with symbolic foods and rituals, the replacement all leavened food products with matzah, retelling of the Passover story, and discussing freedom and social justice issues.

Passover is an eight-day celebration that is divided into two parts. The first two days and last two days are full holidays in which special meals are enjoyed and Jewish people may refrain from working, driving, and using technology. The middle four days are considered semi-festive, and most forms of work are permitted.

Passover observances vary by branch of Judaism and family. However, the intention to remember and give meaning to history is an undercurrent of most Passover observances. History is given meaning through community, food, music, and storytelling—perhaps this is something we can relate to in our own lives. The retelling of the Passover story contributes to the resilience of the Jewish community.

Earth Day is on April 22. It is an annual event focused on environmental protection and raising awareness about environmental issues. Earth Day invites us to care about protecting nature and its resources for future generations and to engage in activism by calling for urgent and decisive action to address the climate crisis.

Earth Day brings an opportunity to examine our beliefs about consumption, sustainability, and the environment and consider how they influence our actions. Every day we can make choices—like electing not to print materials, recycling to cut waste, walking or biking to reduce driving pollution, unplugging appliances to lower energy consumption, and switching from single-use water bottles, utensils, or shopping bags to reusable ones—to help improve the health and livability of our planet for all. Find more sustainability ideas here.

Perhaps this Earth Day we can reflect on the Seventh Generation Principle, an ancient Indigenous philosophy, which encourages us to consider our decisions today through the lens of the impact they may have on generations to come.

Primary Category

Secondary Categories

The Aggie Reader