Heritage day: Arab-Americans honored at Borough Hall’s “Embrace Your Hyphen” event • Brooklyn Paper

Heritage day: Arab-Americans honored at Borough Hall’s “Embrace Your Hyphen” event

Change-makers: Borough President Adams posed with Cecilia Clarke, president of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, and Rawaa Nancy Albilal, president of the Arab-American Family Support Center, at the Arab-American Heritage Celebration at Borough Hall.
Photo by Trey Pentecost

They’re proud of where they came from.

Arab-American Kings Countians gathered at Borough Hall to honor their heritage at the annual “Embrace Your Hyphen” event on April 4.

The celebration offered a chance for the Brooklynites to pay tribute to their homelands while also celebrating their impact in the Borough of Churches, according to one attendee.

“I’m a Syrian-American, so I’m very proud of my heritage, and I thought it was a beautiful moment to recognize some Arab-American leaders in the community,” said Bay Ridgite Reema Albahri.

Borough President Eric Adams honored four Arab-American Brooklynites for their work on behalf of the borough’s Arab communities, including anthropologist and lawyer J.C. Salyer, banker Randa El-Sayed, State Conservative party leader Gerard Kassar, and the staff of Tarab NYC, an organization that caters to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and gender nonconforming Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African people.

And after the speeches and awards were over, attendees took in a high-energy performance by the Freedom Dabka Group — a Palestinian dance group with a number of Brooklyn members — and chowed down on a feast of Middle Eastern food provided by a number of local restaurants.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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