Earlier this fall, the Arab American community convened to celebrate its heritage, accomplishments, and the accomplishments of several distinct community leaders.
Over 350 members of the Arab American Association of New York and guests gathered at the AAANY’s Thirteenth Annual Benefit Gala at the Widdi Catering Hall on Sixth Avenue.
“It was a huge success,” said Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the AAANY. “We met our fundraising goal and sold out.”
At the October 30 event, the association honored Make the Road New York and three individuals.
Pastor David Rommereim of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Mahmoud Doleh of Beit Al Maqdis Islamic Center and Sergeant Vito Viola, formerly of the 68th Precinct Community Affairs Unit, were recognized for their “commitment to making New York City more inclusive and just for all,” said the AAANY.
“We wanted to thank them for their outstanding service to the Arab American community and to New York City as a whole,” added Sarsour.
In addition, AAANY also acknowledged a number of its own accomplishments. In 2014, the organization became officially recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals. It aided 300 adults in their completion of one full year of English classes. More impressively, it assisted nearly 4,000 people with resolving immigration issues or gaining access to public benefits.
“This past year was one of [our] most groundbreaking years yet,” said Sarsour and Dr. Ahmed Jaber, board chair of the organization.
“We are a leading voice for the communities of color in New York City, and we are so proud,” they continued.
“I’d like to say that our annual gala each year represents the growing support we receive from the Arab American community and New York City in general,” concluded Sarsour.