On Saturday, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) made an official proclamation declaring April as Arab American Heritage Month. This announcement comes at a time when there have been anti-Israel protests and encampments emerging on university and college campuses throughout the United States. These demonstrations are advocating for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, urging the U.S. government to cease arming Israel, and calling for divestment from Israeli companies by educational institutions.

Hamas, an Islamic terror group designated by the U.S., initiated an attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, resulting in the loss of 1,200 Israeli lives and the capture of over 200 individuals as hostages. In response to this attack, Israel launched a defensive operation within the Hamas-controlled region of Gaza.

“California joins the nation in recognizing Arab American Heritage Month and lifting up the profound and wide-ranging contributions of Arab Americans in all facets of our society,” Newsom said in his statement.

According to the Arab American Institute, the majority of Arab Americans in the United States, approximately 95%, reside in major metropolitan regions like Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Washington, DC; and New York City. Moreover, states such as California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Minnesota, and Massachusetts are home to significant Arab American communities.

“As home to more immigrants than any other state, California knows firsthand that our diversity is our greatest asset,” Newsom continued. “Our state is fortunate to have the largest Arab American population in the country, with thriving communities in Los Angeles, San Diego, the Bay Area, and other parts of the state that trace their heritage across the Middle East and North Africa.”