STAAR hosts lunchtime event celebrating Arab American Heritage Month

Arab American event participants congregate around the food and information stations.
Arab American event participants congregate around the food and information stations.
Lucas Gallagher

On Wednesday, April 24, Students Taking Action for Anti-Racism (STAAR) hosted a lunchtime event celebrating Arab American Heritage Month. The event featured various activities, information tables, music, and other festivities. 

The Arab American event features a food table offering traditional Arab food including pita bread, olive oil, za’atar, and cookies.

In preparation for the event, STAAR arranged four tables, each with a different theme. The themes included Arab American trivia, anti-racism, and games. The Arab food table was the most popular station, offering pita bread and za’atar, black tea with mint leaves, and cookies, all staples of Arab cuisine. 

Many students and staff, including Archie Williams Team leader and English teacher Diana Goldberg, attended the event and participated in the offered activities. 

“I think being able to uplift the joy of a culture through music, food, and education is incredible. I love seeing it on our campus,” Goldberg said. “It’s really beautiful to get to celebrate the different places people are from in the world.”

Staff and students gather around a game table at STAAR’s Arab American lunchtime event. (Lucas Gallagher)

Circulating students and staff occupied nearly every table. One of the most popular tables featured games such as matching countries with flags, and a memory game that connected countries with different cuisines. The table also featured a station where participants could have their names translated into Arabic. 

By organizing events such as this, STAAR aims to highlight the culture of marginalized communities. STAAR sophomore Frida Alarcon believes that having event stations and highlighting human differences is a great way to understand each other’s cultures. 

“We all are different and sometimes you can think differently about the culture of someone else,” Frida said.

Each station focused on highlighting different aspects of Arab American Heritage. According to STAAR Advisor LoRayne Ortega, the event was part of an effort to combat racism at Archie Williams. 

At their Arab American Heritage Month event, STAAR offered Arab American books and advertised their upcoming heritage month events with a poster. (Lucas Gallagher)

“When we have these kinds of events, it’s fun, engaging, and helps people want to learn more and hopefully interrupt racist stereotypes,” Ortega said.

Ortega believes that because Archie Williams lacks racial diversity, it is essential to be aware of and celebrate other cultures.

“In a very white community, we don’t get exposed as often to different communities of color in our case,” Ortega said.

In the next few months, STAAR looks towards celebrating Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month, Caribbean American Heritage Month, and LGBTQIA+ Pride Month. All of these will be lunchtime events.  

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