AROC Community Defense Training Protect Yourself Against Undercover Cops, Informants and Cooperating Witnesses

Join AROC in partnership with the National Lawyers’ Guild-SF and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for:

AROC Community Defense Training

Know Your Rights: On the Street, On the Web, and Beyond
اعرف حقك

Protect Yourself Against Undercover Cops, Informants and Cooperating Witnesses

Date: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Time: 1:00pm – 4:00 pm
Location: The Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics
518 Valencia Street,
San Francisco, CA


منذ الحادي عشر من سبتمبر والعرب والمسلمون (وحتى من يظهرون مثلهم) موضع شبهة وتهديد من قوات الأمن من دون مبرر غير الخلفية العرقية والدينية. وتعاونت عدد من اجهزة الأمن ومنها مراكز الشرطة المحلية، مكتب التحقيقات الفدرالية ال (FBI) ووزارة الأمن الداخلي (DHS) لتشكيل ما يُعرف بالقوة المشتركة لمكافحة الارهاب (JTTF)، والتي اقتطعت اموال من الموازنات العامة من اجل التجسس والإيقاع بأفراد من الجاليات العربية والمسلمة وغيرها في سبيل حرب الولايات المتحدة على الإرهاب. شاركونا يوم السبت الموافق 6/18 في النقاش المجتمعي لمعرفة الكيفية المناسبة للتعامل في مثل هكذا قضايا.

This training is intended for youth, families and activists in the broader community. Come learn about ways to protect yourself, friends and community with digital security, what to do if you or someone you know are visited by law enforcement, or if someone feels that they are being targeted for their political activity.

RSVP by emailing or calling 415-861-7444.

Read NLG statement:

English | Arabic

May Day Event Report Back

Oakland –  Hundreds of people are taking part in a regional march in celebration of this year’s International Workers’ Day, themed Our Vote is in the Streets. Communities traveled from cities across the Bay Area to join people in Oakland for a lively march through East Oakland, beginning in the Fruitvale neighborhood. The regional May Day event this year emphasized the growing movements for workers’ and migrants’ rights, an end to the police and state violence, and international solidarity with all people resisting U.S. imperialism.

A rally began at 12PM that featured inspiring speakers from many different organizations, and exciting performances from the region’s artists and cultural workers, with the march beginning at 1PM.

“As the country is focused on the ridiculous presidential elections, we are here to say that our vote and power is in the streets. Whether Democrat or Republican, this system was not made for us, as Obama’s administration has deported over two and a half million immigrants – more than any other president in history,” said Sagnicthe Salazar of Xicana Moratorium Coalition, one of the lead organizers of the march. “We’re coming together this May Day to amplify the resistance of migrants, workers, and communities of color.”

Speakers during the march made connections between the powerful upsurge of immigrant peoples’ ongoing struggles for civil and human rights across the country, the increased outrage of Black and Brown communities against policing and state violence, and the struggles against U.S. imperialism internationally.

“May Day is a celebration of international solidarity, and the Bay Area is continuing that legacy by marching against state violence, whether that is the policing of Black and Brown communities here, or U.S. imperialism abroad,” says Lara Kiswani of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. “We demand an end to collaborations between oppressive regimes, such as between the U.S. and Israel, and march in solidarity with oppressed people fighting for self-determination all over the world.”

“The US continues its attack on immigrants and people of color, particularly Black communities, but our struggle and organizing have intensified,” says Devonte Jackson of Black Alliance for Just Immigration. “In cities everywhere, the routine violence of the police is being challenged more than ever, and we are here to uplift that resistance, and demand our dignity.”


Media Round-up:

  1. CBS Local 5:
  2. San Jose Mercury:
  3. NBC Bay Area :–377754961.html
  4. SF Gate:
  5. San Jose Mercury:
  6. The Guardian:
  7. CBS:
  8. Real News Network:

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.



The Case of the Syrian Refugees in the Bay Area

Listen to AROC staff attorney, Lina Baroudi, on KPFA discussing the case of the Syrian refugees as it relates to recent political developments.

The Case of Syrian Refugees

By Lina Baroudi

What are the conditions that Syrian refugees are facing?

As of yesterday, over twenty U.S. state governors have announced that they will oppose the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states. Putting aside the unconstitutionality of these proposed policies, these state leaders’ sentiments are indicative of the ignorance and scapegoating so prevalent in this country. The world has finally turned its eyes to Syria, but the more than 4 million Syrian refugees did not come into existence until last week.

Since March 2011, individuals and families have been fleeing Syria to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, where they are waiting to be processed for resettlement in a third country. While in limbo, they are separated from their families and many are living without running water, electricity, medical and mental health services. I think, by now, everyone is familiar with the image of Aylan Kurdi, the young Syrian refugee who died in the Mediterranean Sea trying to leave Turkey with his family. There are hundreds of thousands of Aylans in what the UN has called the largest humanitarian crisis of our era.

What process do they have to go through?

The screening process for refugees, and specifically Syrian refugees, involves the most intensive security background check of anyone seeking admission into the U.S.

  1. Registration and interviews with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), undergo security checks using biodata, biometrics, iris scan
  2. Referral to U.S. for resettlement
  3. Interview by the U.S. DOS’s Resettlement Support Center; obtain security clearance by DHS
  4. Vetted against databases of Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, the FBI, and the National Counterterrorism Center
  5. Syrian refugees undergo another background check by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  6. Matched with a U.S.-based resettlement agency
  7. Undergo additional checks by CBP and TSA

How long does it take?

The average time is 18-24 months

What support do they have after they get refugee status?

Once refugees arrive here, there are refugee resettlement organizations which initially place them with a host family, then find them their own apartments, and assist them in finding employment, medical services and enrolling the children in school. After that, they are more or less on their own. And even during that process, they are often placed in areas they are completely unfamiliar with, alienated from community and at the will of placement agencies.

Out of the 4.1 million registered Syrian refugees, the U.S. has accepted just over two thousand since 2011. But what we should also take note of are the several thousand Syrian immigrants who have fled Syria in recent years. Even though they have not been designated as refugees, we should understand the condition of the Syrian people to include forced migrants, refugees, displaced people and those in diaspora who have suffered the pain of their family and community. Most of the recent migrants from Syria faced extreme violence prior to their arrival here; violence supported and funded by the U.S. They were fortunate enough to flee before being forced into refugee camps. However, their families are those same people languishing in camps.

What have been the recent shifts in US domestic policy?

In September, President Obama announced that the U.S. will take an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees. In response to the events of last week, the House Republicans are expected to pass legislation today to freeze and overhaul the refugee admission process, specifically in regards to Syrians and Iraqis. We have a Virginia mayor commending the use of internment camps for Japanese-Americans as a rationale for keeping Syrian refugees out of his city. We’re seeing the same kind of backlash against Arabs and Muslims as we did in 2001.

The irony, again, is that the U.S. does not take responsibility for its actions in the Arab world and its role in the Syrian refugee crisis, whether it’s through propping up dictators, fueling sectarian violence or creating and sustaining extremist groups.

The bottom line is what is happening in Syria is a tragedy. No matter what we call it, the result is the same: civilian deaths, families torn apart, the creation of millions of new refugees, and the re-traumatization of Palestinian refugees who were living in Syria. 

How does the US compare to other countries?

There is no comparison at all. Germany and Sweden have been the most welcoming countries to Syrian refugees and asylum seekers, and France has just recommitted itself to accepting 30,000 more Syrian refugees.

Meanwhile, the hypocrisy in U.S. immigration policy is that while stigmatizing the less than one percent of Syrian refugees this country has accepted, the U.S. has in place other mechanisms – asylum and temporary protected status – to afford legal status to the thousands of Syrians already living in this country. What we should be comparing is the role that the U.S. has played in creating the crisis in the Arab world; the role it has played in funding, arming and inciting the violence that Syrians are fleeing from. While the U.S. funded ISIS, propped up dictators, and armed racist states like Israel, it turns a blind eye to the impact its policies and practices have had on those it considers non-Western. Take, for instance, the attention we have seen on Paris; all the while the Syrians and Lebanese who have been devastated by ISIS have been ignored. And then when those same people seek refuge from the destruction that the U.S. has a direct role in, they are criminalized and demonized and accused of the same violence they are fleeing.

People all over the world are outraged at what they are witnessing. They are outraged at U.S. foreign policy and they know all too well that those at the receiving end of it, are the ones that fall victim to the racism and fear mongering that results.

We at AROC are working tirelessly to meet the growing needs of the forced migrants from the U.S. by providing immigration services. But there needs to be a radical shift in how the U.S. relates to the world. Otherwise, the Syrian crisis we see today will be reproduced in other parts of the world. Just as it has over decades, from Latin America to Africa.

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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Community Information Session on: Temporary Protected Status for Yemenis

يصر المركز العربي للمصادر و التنظيم بعقد جلسة نقاشية بخصوص الاعلان عن

البرنامج ” الاقامة تحت الحماية المؤقتة لليمنيين” بحضور المحامية لينا البارودي,

اليوم الثلاثاء ١٥ سبتمبر٢٠١٥ الساعة ١٢ ظهرا الي الساعة ١.  المحامية , لينا

البارودي, سوف تشرح مؤهلات البرنامج و تجاوب علي اي اسئلة قانونية عن


**سيكون هناك ترجمة باللغة العربية**

AROC المكان: في المركز العربي للمصادر و التنظيم 

الموعد: من الساعة ١٢ الي الساعة ١ ظهرا

 518 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA, 94110: عنوان

415-861-7444 :التليفون


On Tuesday, September 15th, 2015, the Arab Resource and

Organizing Center will be holding an informational session for

individuals who are interested in learning about the newly

announced “Temporary Protected Status” for Yemeni nationals.

Our immigration attorney, Lina Baroudi, will explain the eligibility

requirements and answer any questions about “Temporary

Protected Status.” Please join us!

Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Address: 518 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA, 94110

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm.

Arabic interpretation will be provided

Phone: 415-861-7444

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

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.






AROC 2014 Voter Guide

Get out and vote! November 4, 2014

The Arab Resource and Organizing Center encourages all registered voters to go to the polls. We recognize that many in our community are denied their voting rights, including non-citizens, youth, and people in prison or on parole. Until each of us is able to have a true say in our political system, we still find it important to speak up for the needs and rights of our communities when we are able. Below are some of the ballot measures we found most critical in the upcoming election.

Find your polling place and other voter information here:

Call AROC with questions or for assistance. 415-861-7444

Language Access – While there are no printed ballots in Arabic, you can ask for interpretation at City Hall or any polling place and an interpreter will verbally translate the ballot to you by phone. For assistance call 415-554-4375.

View or download PDF of AROC Voter Guide: AROC Voter Guide [PDF]

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