Americans All Initiative


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Presentation on the Arab American National Museum's efforts to address immigration for the Americans All: The Immigration/Migration Initiative at the Smithsonian.

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  • The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a project of ACCESS, is a national consortium of independent Arab American community-based organizations. NNAAC, which was established in 2004, currently has 23 members in 11 states and the District of Columbia. The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), launched in 2005, promotes, facilitates and celebrates Arab American giving through education, training and donor outreach and services. 
  • The need for a museum:To further our educational and public programsTo dispel stereotypes and misconceptionsTo meet rapid growth and increase demandsTo document, preserve and celebrate ArabAmerican history and culture
  • There have been three major waves of Arab immigration to the U.S.:The first wave of Arab immigrants came mainly from Greater Syria, the geographic region now known as Syria, Lebanon Israel and Palestine, arriving in the United States between the late 1800s and 1920s. The second wave of Arab immigrants began coming to the United States in 1948 following the creation of Israel and included many professionals and university students who remained in the United States after their education. The third wave of Arab immigration began after the Arab defeat in the Arab–Israeli war of 1967. This wave is still occurring and is expected to continue for some time. These immigrants often come to the United States to escape war or political instability
  • Ali Abdallah immigrated with this trunk to the United States from Yemen in 1970 and joined his uncle in employment at Sunview Farms in Delano, CA. There, he lived in the vineyard's workers' housing which was convenient, though void of decoration. Ali covered this trunk with Sunview Farms labels, adding color to colorless surroundings.
  • When Sara Abdalla left Syria with these shoes in 1923 en route to the United States, her journey would lead her to cross the Atlantic three times before reaching her final destination. Denied immediate entry because of a failed eye exam, Sara and her daughter Rose were sent back to France. Her husband sought his congressman's help, who assisted in returning Sara and Rose to America.
  • This multimedia exhibit used metro Detroit as a microcosm of American immigration and let immigrants tell their own stories, which often contradicted broadly held stereotypes and misconceptions. The exhibit focused on four ethnic communities - Arab, Latino, South Asian and Eastern European - from three regions of metro Detroit that have a significant population of recent immigrants.Via cell phone, visitors listened in on conversations with immigrants, while photos, personal objects and writings further illuminated their experiences.The exhibit opening coincided with the Immigration Sites of Conscience network’s effort to launch public dialogues on immigration within museums (September 2009)   
  • This multimedia exhibit included many interactive components, including a kiosk displaying the NY Times Immigration Explorerinfographic that illustrated settlement patterns of immigrants over various time periods throughout US history.
  • A visitor to the exhibit shares his views on immigration. Videos were captured using a webcam and uploaded to YouTube.
  • From the late 19th century through the mid-20th century, an area of Manhattan’s lower west side was the home to a vibrant and productive community of early Arab Americans. Dubbed the “heart of New York’s Arab world” by The New York Times, the Washington Street neighborhood was commonly referred to as both the “Syrian Colony” and “The Mother Colony” because of its large concentration of immigrants from Syria and Lebanon. 
  • The AANM's Little Syria exhibition will document and celebrate the rich history of New York’s first Arab American community. The exhibition will provide a space for reflection and discussion on the presence of Arab Americans in lower Manhattan; a particularly important and timely subject given the events of the past decade that have affected this part of New York City. Furthermore, the exhibition will build community history and collective memory, thus serving as a source of pride for all Arab Americans. 
  • A screenshot of a website archived by the Archive-It software.
  • Americans All Initiative

    1. 1. Americans All:The Immigration/Migration InitiativeDevon M. AkmonDeputy Director | Arab American National Museum
    2. 2. ACCESS • Established in 1971 in Dearborn, MI • Created to assist the Arab population adapt to life in the U.S. • Dedicated to empowering and enabling communities • Eight location & over 100 programs • Over 300 employees
    3. 3. Three National Initiatives
    4. 4. ACCESS’ Cultural Arts Program • Founded in 1987 • Recognizing the importance of arts in the daily life of all people • Bridge the gap between ethnic and racial groups • Instill community pride
    5. 5. Mission: The Arab American National Museumdocuments, preserves and presents the history, culture and contributions of Arab Americans.
    6. 6. Collections & Interpretation Coming to America
    7. 7. Interpretation • Utilize personal stories that reflect the diversity of the Arab American community • Stress the similarities of the immigrant story common to all ethnic communities • Employ empathy and personal connections to bridge cultural gaps
    8. 8. Connecting Communities
    9. 9. Themes Explored • Why are they here? • What’s the connection? • Why aren’t they more like us? • Aren’t immigrants a burden to our communities? • Aren’t immigrants a drain on our economy?
    10. 10. Little Syria
    11. 11. Relevant Issues Related to Immigration/Migration • Stereotypes and misconceptions • Economic impact • Laws concerning immigration & naturalization • Assimilation versus acculturation (Identity) • Global citizenship
    12. 12. Archiving the Internet Collecting born-digital assets
    13. 13.
    14. 14.
    15. 15. Stay in touch!Devon AkmonDeputy Director | Arab American National Museum☎ 313.624.0208dakmon@accesscommunity.org