Bay Area Arab Youth Speak Out

On February 19th, 2016,  AROC held it’s second community forum Bay Area Arab Youth Speak Out. 7 AYO leaders from 4 different High Schools and 1 college spoke directly about their experiences as Arabs navigating through SF public schools. They spoke about the way in which our political climate makes its way into the classroom, and ways in which they’ve faced anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia. Many highlighted the challenges of not having language access in their schools. All of them spoke about the support they received and how it important it was for them to have family and educators committed to their success. Thank you to everyone who joined us and came out to support our community #AYO #YouthPower



Arab Youth Mobilize for Arabic Language Pathways

After over a year of organizing and advocating for Arabic and Vietnamese language pathways, having the SF Board of Education unanimously pass a resolution to explore the implementation of these pathways, and months of community outreach and participation, the District produced two reports outlining the need, and recommendations for the programs. And on Tuesday, February 2nd, the San Francisco Board of Education met to discuss the feasibility of the pathways and hear from public testimony.

Dozens of community members showed up in support. AROC’s youth program, AYO-Arab Youth Organization, came out in force and spoke up about the experience as Arab youth, the role that language, cultural and community empowerment play in their lives, and demanded that the city respond to their growing needs at a time of heightened islamophobia and anti-Arab racism. Educators, community, and allies all expressed their commitment to supporting this community-led effort.

We are excited about this development. As the BOE is moves forward with discussions about feasibility and implementation, feel free to contact AROC for updates or to get involved in this critical work.

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Community Forum: Arabic Language Pathways, حوار مجتمعي بخصوص برنامج ادخال اللغة العربية الى مدارس سان فرانسيسكو


عقد المركز العربي حوار مجتمعي بخصوص برنامج ادخال اللغة العربية الى مدارس سان فرانسيسكو وتحدث بالجلسة كل  من

نور : طالبة عربية من سوريا، تحدثت عن تجربتها مع اللغة عندما هاجرت عائلتها الى امريكا، وكيف تأثرت لغتها العربية بسبب قلة الممارسة وكانت تتمنى لو انها استطاعت ان تستمر بدراسة اللغة العربية بالمدرسة

نورا : طالبة عربية امريكية تحدثت عن تجربتها مع لغتها العربية التى تفهمها جيداً لكنها لا تتكلم بها، وعزت عدم قدرتها على التحدث باللغة العربية لأنها لم تدرسها في المدرسة

دايخة : صحافية ومترجمة اخبار من اللغة العربية الى اللغة الانجليزية، تحدثت عن اهمية اللغة للطفل في حياته وتكوين شخصيته، وتطرقت الى اهمية ان تبنى المناهج في طريقة معينة، وان تحمل مضمون ذو قيمة

رندة : عربية امريكية تحدثت عن اصرارها الطويل لتعلم اللغة العربية، والصعوبة التى واجهتها بحكم عدم وجود مدارس تقوم بتدريس اللغة العربية، وعبرت عن رغبتها الشديدة في تعلم ابنها الذي يدرس في احدى مدارس سان فرانسيسكو اللغة العربية

سامية : معلمة لأكثر من عشر سنوات، ومسؤولة برنامج تدريس اللغة الانجليزية لغير الناقطين بها، وتحدثت عن اهمية تدريس اللغة العربية للأطقال بالمدارس وعلاقة اللغة بالهوية والثقافة العربية، اذ يتعرف الطفل على الشعر والرواية والتاريخ اثناء دراسته اللغة

نبيل : يعمل كمترجم في مدارس سان فرانسيسكو، تحدث عن تجربته مع الاهالي العرب ورغبتهم في تدريس اولادهم اللغة العربية، حيث يعتقد ان ممارسة اللغة العربية بالمنزل ضرورية جداً لكنها لا تكفي، ولكي يستوعب الطفل العربي اللغة ويتقنها جيداً عليه ان يدرسها كمساق خاص بالمدرسة

بالنقاش عبّر الاهالي عن رغبتهم الشديدة بالبرنامج وتطلعهم اليه، وحاول المركز العربي ان يجيب على تساؤلاتهم، وتدوين ملاحظاتهم لايصالها الى الجهات المعنية بالبرنامج

On January 16th, 2016, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center hosted a forum on the Arabic language pathways resolution for SF public schools with guest speakers from the Arab community.

Nour, a San Francisco high school student and active member of Arab Youth Organization of AROC, spoke about her experience with Arabic language as an immigrant from Syria and how her fluency was impacted by her inability to practice speaking, writing and reading her native language. She expressed her enthusiasm at the possibility of continuing to study Arabic in her school.  Nora, also an SF high school student and active member of AYO, spoke as an Arab-American student who understands Arabic very well but doesn’t feel as comfortable speaking it. She attributed her inability to speak Arabic to the fact that it is not offered as an option in school, and her family could not afford private classes.

Daikha, a journalist and parent, talked about the importance knowledge of languages in children’s lives and the impact it has on the formation of their character. She emphasized the importance developing culturally and socially competent curriculum as a means of teaching the Arabic language in the most meaningful and impactful way.        

Renda, an SF parent, talked about her own persistence and struggle to learn Arabic as an Arab American. She also expressed her desire for her son to learn Arabic in San Francisco public schools to support him academically and to connect him to his culture and heritage.

Samia an educator for more than 10 years and currently works for a district in coordinating ESL program, spoke about the importance of teaching Arabic in conjunction with Arab culture, which includes poetry, novels, and history.

Nabil, an interpreter for the San Francisco Unified District, described his experience with the SF parents, and their desire for their children to maintain and learn Arabic. He described how teaching language at home alone is not enough for children to master the language.

At the community forum, the parents expressed her enthusiasm and aspirations for an Arabic Language pathways. AROC facilitated the discussion with the panelists and attendees that reflected the breathe of the Arab community in SF and the significance of Arabic in their lives. The community’s feedback and insight regarding the program will be shared with SF Unified School District.   

Please stay tuned for updates on the pathways resolution and contact AROC to get involved in future efforts.



Successful Information session on the Arabic Language Pathways

Update: Arabic Language Pathways

We are proud to announce the success of the San Francisco Unified School District information session on the Arabic Language Pathways, which was held on October 14th at Redding School in San Francisco. About 100 parents and youth attended the session. AROC has been dedicated to advocating for Arabic language access and keeping our community at the forefront of the struggle. It is the steadfastness of the Arab community in San Francisco who are the foundation for the success of the passing of the Arabic and Vietnamese Language Pathways resolution in the San Francisco Unified School District. The Arab youth and our allies played an important role in both the passing of the Arabic Language Pathways resolution and mobilizing for the first information session.

There is still a long way to go. The program is in the first stage of research and survey collection. As the community partner, we look forward to working with the SFUSD on the upcoming and important steps to making this program a reality for the growing Arab community in the city of San Francisco.

We would like to thank Nabil Darwish for providing translation, and Redding School for welcoming our community.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact AROC at : 415-861-7444 or omar@araborganizing.


مسارات اللغة العربية

نعلن بكل فخر وسرور عن نجاح الاجتماع التمهيدي المتعلق في برنامج تعليم اللغة العربية لطلاب مدارس سان فرانسيسكو والذي عقد يوم ١٤ أكتوبرفي مدرسة ريدينغ في سان فرانسيسكو، حيث حضر الاجتماع حوالي ١٠٠ شاب وشابة بالاضافة الى ذويهم.

اعتبر المركز العربي قضية تدريس اللغة العربية في مدارس سان فرانسيسكو قضية اساسية لابناء المجتمع العربي ككل، وقد وضع المركز هذه القضية على رأس اولويا ته وعمل سوياً مع ابناء المجتمع للوصول الى الهدف المنشود. تكافل المجتمع العربي واصراره على المضي قدماً نحو حق ابنائهم في تعلم لغتهم الأصلية كان الاساس لنجاح تمرير هذا القرار المتعلق بمسارات اللغة العربية في مدارس سان فرانسيسكو.

ومن المهم ان نشير الى ان الشباب العربي وحلفائنا كان لهم دور هاماً في تمرير القرار من جانب والتواصل مع اكبر قدر ممكن من العائلات لابلاغهم باهمية حضور الاجتماع التمهيدي من جانب اخر.

الطريق ما زال طويلاً والبرنامج ما زال في مراحله الأولى المتعلقة بالبحث والاستقصاء. ونحن في المركز العربي وكممثل عن المجتمع العربي نتطلع إلى العمل مع SFUSD على الخطوات القادمة والهامة، لجعل هذا البرنامج واقعا بالنسبة للمجتمع العربي المتنامي في مدينة سان فرانسيسكو.

.الشكر الموصول  لكل من السيد نبيل درويش على خدمة الترجمة، ولكلية ردينغ لاستضافة واستقبال مجتمعنا

:للاستفسار حول هذا البرنامج، يرجى التواصل مع المركز العربي على العنوان التالي

عمر علي



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Moving forward to bring Arabic to SF Schools!

Bringing Arabic to SF Schools

The Arab Resource and Organizing Center is excited to be moving forward with bringing Arabic and Vietnamese into SF classrooms.

Thank you to all of our allies who spoke up in support of AROC and stood with us as we struggled against a concerted effort to undermine this historic effort. Community organizers, immigrant rights activists, faith leaders, Jewish allies, and educators demonstrated unwavering support for AROC’s work and the integrity of the resolution that was passed unanimously by the Board of Education on May 26. The Board is standing by its unanimous decision to explore the implementation of Arabic and Vietnamese language pathway programs that would benefit thousands of children in San Francisco.

“Cultural diversity and self-determination in education, are two cornerstones of the SFUSD and values that make San Francisco such a forward-thinking place to live. Our community and allies have proven that we are all committed to upholding these values and standing up against racism in all its forms.” – Rama Kased

Action Alert: Support AROC and Arabic Language Pathways in SF Schools!


Over the last month, our small yet powerful grassroots Arab community organization has been the target of an attack by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). They have vilified us on media and to public officials, and have been attempting to intimidate our allies for supporting us. The attacks escalated when the Examiner printed this article.

Who is JCRC?

They are a well-financed group that furthers the interests of the apartheid state of Israel. Their objective is to challenge Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions work in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Wherever they see an organization successfully supporting the Palestinian struggle for liberation, they attack.

Now, they are attacking both AROC and the opportunity for children in San Francisco to learn Arabic language and culture.

JCRC is attempting to convince the San Francisco Board of Education to revote on a resolution that the board passed unanimously on May 26, listing AROC and the Vietnamese Youth Development Center as community partners who championed the campaign to implement Arabic and Vietnamese language pathways in SFUSD. This initiative, born of an inspiring community effort, would expand the opportunity of Arabs and Vietnamese to have their languages and cultures better represented in the schools they attend.

What does JCRC really want?

They want to discredit AROC because of our impactful work in support of Palestinian rights, and they want control of the Arabic pathway process so they can ensure there are no cultural elements to the curriculum that could “threaten” their conservative agenda.

Don’t let JCRC undermine Arab culture in our city to advance their harmful agenda.

Will you take two minutes to sign on to community support letter to urge the Board of Educations continued support of AROC and our role in developing the Arabic language pathway in SFUSD?

The Board of Education is on break until August. By signing onto this letter you will help affirm that communities are in support of AROC and against the attempt of political interest groups like JCRC to undermine grassroots community efforts. By signing on you show that people of conscience are united against racism.



AROC Announcement and Photos of Arabic Language Pathways Victory

JCRC Case Study: the Attack on Eastside Arts Alliance

JCRC attack on Children’s Art Exhibit from Gaza

IJAN report, the Business of Backlash: the Attack on the Palestinian Movement and Other Movements for Justice



Arabic language pathways in SF Unified School District

Arabic language pathways in SF Unified School District

Board of Education passes resolution to implement Arabic in SF public schools. 

Click HERE for SFUSD press release.

On Tuesday night, AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center, and the Vietnamese Youth Development Center mobilized to the San Francisco Board of Education meeting to support the inclusion of Arabic and Vietnamese languages in public schools.

Students, parents, educators and advocates urged the Board to vote yes to the resolution to implement Arabic and Vietnamese language pathways in San Francisco Unified School District. They encouraged the Board to vote yes to families being empowered by their culture, history and language. And the Board took their lead and passed the resolution! This comes at a historic moment where communities in San Francisco have won ethnic studies in all schools. Arabs can now celebrate the inclusion of our native language in classrooms as a victory in the ongoing struggle to fight for equity, racial and social justice in schools and communities.

Please consider donating to AROC today to help us continue to build power in the Bay Area. We depend on you to make our work possible.






Language Access Is A Right


San Francisco city celebrates its immigrants and their languages. The city has issued a language access ordinance that demands that all residents of San Francisco city must have equal access to its city department services and resources regardless of their language. AROC is a member of the Language Access Network of San Francisco, for more information about this right, the concerned city departments and SFLAN, download the guide.

If you face any language obstacles in a city department, please contact us.

أنا أتحدث العربيّة
الخدمات اللغويّة حقّ من حقوقي

تحتفي مدينة سان فرانسيسكو بسكّانها من الجاليات المهاجرة. أصدرت المدينة قرارا ينصّ على حقّ جميع سكّان المدينة بالحصول على خدمات ومصادر هيئاتها الحكوميّة بشكل متكافئ بغضّ النظر عن لغاتهم. المركز العربي للمصادر والتنظيمAROC  عضو في شبكة سان فرانسيسكو لتوفير الخدمات اللغويّة LANSF، للمزيد من المعلومات عن هذه الحقوق والهيئات المعنيّة والشبكة، الرجاء إنزال دليل شبكة سان فرانسيسكو لتوفير الخدمات اللغويّة.

في حال مواجهة عقبات وحواجز بسبب اللغة في هيئة حكوميّة تابعة لمدين سان فرانسيسكو، الرجاء الاتّصال بنا.