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





Dear AROC community members and allies,

We are extremely pleased to announce that Lara Kiswani will be joining AROC as Executive Director beginning August 1, 2012.  A Bay Area native, Lara has been involved in community activism for many years.  She brings with her the talent, experience, and vision necessary for helping lead AROC’s fight for racial and social justice for our communities.

Lara Kiswani is a Palestinian raised in the Bay Area.  She has organized with antiwar, immigrant rights, feminist, community, youth and student organizations.  She also worked as a youth and adult educator in nonprofits and schools.  Lara completed her undergraduate studies at UC Davis, majoring in International Relations with an emphasis on Peoples and Nationalities, also helping to establish the Middle East South Asia minor.  She earned an MA in Education at SFSU where her research focused on Palestinian American youth identity, language and decolonization.

“I am so excited for this new phase of AROC, and the energy and enthusiasm that Lara will bring to the organization.  She has already shown a commitment to the organization and our mission, and is going to be an incredible addition to AROC’s team.  I know that the AROC Collective will thrive with her addition and I’m looking forward to working with Lara on the Collective as I leave my position as Director and transition to a new role within AROC.” Lily Haskell, AROC’s Program Director

AROC has been in a careful 8-month planning process for this transition. Moving into the summer, Lara will be joining AROC staff, Collective, and Members at meetings and community events. Starting on August 1st, Lara and Lily will work together to ensure a smooth transition in the AROC office.  We will be planning a “meet and greet” event and will keep you posted on the date. During this transitional time, we invite questions and support from our wider AROC community.

AROC has invited several community leaders to join our Collective as a Transition Team for a 6 month period to help advise and support Lara and the AROC staff.  These are individuals who have supported AROC over the years, or are former Collective members, and offer skills or experience that will help the organization continue to thrive.  We encourage you to contact any of the current Collective members/staff or our new Collective Transition Team if you have any questions.

“I am eager to continue my work with AROC in my new capacity as executive director.  Having been active in the organization, I admire its solid political vision and its commitment to grounding itself in the struggles and experiences of communities. I look forward to contributing to this work and building on these efforts with the AROC staff and collective.” Lara Kiswani, incoming AROC Executive Director

We look forward to your support in this new phase of our work and encourage your involvement!

In unity,

AROC Collective

AROC Collective

Miriam Zouzounis

Amria Ahmed

Ashwak Hauter

Sami Kitmitto

Alia Ghabra

Lubna Morrar

Ramsey El-Qare

Christina Nesheiwat

Lily Haskell

Collective Transition Team

Heba Nimr

Senan Khairie

Maherah Silmi

Reem Assil

Ramiz Rafeedie

Nancy Hormachea

Nadia Babella

Rama Kased

Monadel Herzallah

Please contact the AROC office at 415.861.7444 for contact information of any individuals listed, or for other information.

APPLY NOW | Deadline to apply for AROC ED position: March 15

Please help AROC find qualified candidates for this position. Spread the word to your networks! AROC is a membership based organization led by a Collective comprised of paid staff and volunteer members. Volunteer members of the Collective and AROC General Members contribute much of the programmatic work and political direction of the organization. The Executive Director will be responsible for providing organizational leadership, fundraising, program supervision, and operational management within the context of this Collective structure. While many of the duties involve operations and fundraising, we are looking for a dynamic person who is interested and able to contribute to all aspects of the organization, including our programmatic work.

Continue reading

AROC is Hiring: Immigration Attorney

Description: The Staff Attorney will be responsible for providing free immigration legal services to primarily Arab and Muslim clients through Arab American Legal Services (AALS), San Francisco’s first free immigration service for the Arab community.  The Staff Attorney will also supervise the casework of the Legal and Outreach Coordinator and law student interns, collaborate with a Network of organizations on community education trainings, and participate in coalition and other collaborative activities aimed to educate, organize, and advocate on behalf of the community. Continue reading

Announcing Staff Changes at AROC

After five years of hard work and true dedication, our Program Director, Lily Haskell, will be leaving AROC in the late Summer (Sept 2012).  No words can truly express our appreciation for Lily’s dedication to the work, which has left a lasting impact on our lives. Lily has been more than just a co-worker, she is family. We have grown together experiencing ups and downs in our organizing and personal lives. We wish her new found success wherever life takes her. Continue reading

AROC’s Summer Newsletter

Front and Back pageThe newest edition of our newsletter is out!  Download it here, or email lily (at) to receive a paper copy.

  • AYO! Sick and Tired of Learning about “Arabs as Terrorists”… and they’re not gonna take it anymore
  • SF Flotilla and Gaza Resolution
  • Response to Police Chief Gascon’s Racist Remarks
  • Meet the Staff
  • Profile on an AROC Member
  • Reportback on the Census

Front and Back page

Page 2 and 7

Page 4 and 5

Page 6 and 3