Arab American Students Lead Effort to Recognize Eid and Diwali as Official School Holidays

Washington, D.C. | | December 22, 2022 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) celebrates the decision by the Warren Township Board of Education in New Jersey to recognize Eid and Diwali as official school holidays for the districts middle and elementary schools. The effort was started and led by a coalition of diverse students who tirelessly worked to ensure that their communities are recognized. The high school in the area is under the control of the Watchung Hills Regional High School Board of Education – they have yet to make a decision on the matter.

Three of the students spearheading the effort are Arab American siblings Ryan, Noora, and Danny Kuran. In August of this year their mother, Ms. Jinan Kotob, reached out to ADC for assistance with the process. Ms. Kotob connected and worked directly with ADC National Organizer Jinan Shbat throughout the campaign.

With the effort being completely student-led, this win is more special. In a statement given to ADC Ryan said,  “One thing my family has taught me is that if one door closes, try another one, and another one until you find a path.”

Undeterred by repeated rejections, the students persisted in their quest. Beginning with a petition, the students attended Board of Education meetings where they passionately and respectfully, made their case. When that failed to sway administrators, the coalition collaborated with local and national organizations to publish editorials, and enlisted the help of a school psychologist to publicly support the cause. To further bolster their position, the students designed a short survey and had it reviewed for bias by professors at NYU and UPenn. Over 400 students responded to the survey, with over 98% supporting the designation of the two holidays.

ADC is proud of the students’ relentless dedication and collaboration. This is a prime example of how working together across communities brings about positive results. We know the impact of having our religious holidays celebrated as a part of the calendar year, and we support any similar efforts happening across the nation.

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Dear Watchung Hills Board, Fulfill Your Goals

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