Lara Kiswani is the Executive Director of Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC), serving poor and working class Arabs and Muslims across the San Francisco Bay Area, and organizing to overturn racism, forced migration, and militarism. AROC’s social services aim to provide responsive and accessible programs that reduce economic, social and cultural barriers. Through legal services, case management, and language access advocacy, youth programming and community organizing and mobilizing AROC serves over one thousand community members each year. AROC co-hosted San Francisco City Hall’s first-ever Ramadan iftar in 2019.
Lara is from Beit Iksa and Aqir, Palestine, and was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her master’s in education at San Francisco State University, and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the University of California Davis. Lara has been active in movements against racism and war, for Palestinian self-determination, and international solidarity for the last 20 years. In 2016, Lara represented her community as part of the historic Black and Indigenous delegation to Palestine. Lara was granted the LeaderSpring Center fellowship in 2015, and in 2017 was awarded the Vera Haile Champion of Justice from the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission. Lara is currently a San Francisco Foundation Mission Neighborhood Koshland Fellow, was named a 2021 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 100 Honoree, and is a faculty member at San Francisco State University in the College of Ethnic Studies.