Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

NAAWA Celebrates International Women’s Day and Each Other

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

NAAWA Celebrates International Women’s Day and Each Other

Article excerpt

The National Arab American Women's Association (NAAWA) celebrated International Women's Day and Arab-American heritage by holding a gala on April 2 at the Sheraton Tysons Hotel in northern Virginia. NAAWA provides a forum for Arab-American women of every age to use their talents, knowledge and expertise as they network and empower each other. The theme for the evening was "Weaving the Colorful Fabric of America."

Social entrepreneur/communications consultant Hazami Barmada, the evening's emcee, kept the program lively and engaging. "Our individual success depends on our collective success," she said, and together our unique threads weave a strong fabric.

Mayor Allison Silberberg of Alexandria, VA remarked, "All Americans come from somewhere else in the world-with the exception of Native Americans. We're a nation of immigrants." Schools in Alexandria teach children from 125 countries who speak 87 different languages. This new generation is more accepting and celebrates diversity and harmony, Silberberg said. She called the recent travel ban "abhorrent and painful," and said she was grateful to have the opportunity to "reassure our community that this is a hate-free zone."

Palestinian-American human rights lawyer Zaha Hassan, a New America Fellow and part of the Al-Shabaka Palestinian Policy Network, called for Arab-American women to be bridge-builders in an increasingly divided country. "We have a history of straddling communities and faith traditions. It's embedded in our DNA," she explained. …

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