TAKE ACTION: California Must Pass Bill Recognizing MENA Communities

Washington, DC | www.adc.org | April 2, 2024 – The California State Legislature is considering adding a Middle East and North Africa (MENA) category across all demographic forms in California. This bill will bring the state in line with federal standards, and importantly, give representation to our communities many of whom currently considered “white”. ADC is encouraging all its members in California to send a message to their California State representatives demanding support for the inclusion of “MENA” communities in state data as a distinct category, and for members outside of California to add their names to a petition demanding the same.

Passage of this bill would be an important recognition of communities that have been historically excluded. For over a century “MENA” communities have been erased by government statistics, eliminating any chance for appropriate or effective programming and funding to address our communities’ issues and challenges, as well as denying us the legal protections for political representation given to other racialized communities.

ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said, “The federal government’s announcement last week is only the first step in the process of true recognition. We now need states to do their part and make this change official.”

In order for our communities to legitimately receive recognition and federal funding, states like California must align their current categories with those of the federal government. We acknowledge and recognize that the term “MENA” is problematic to many in the community. ADC is committed to advocating for additional changes, including at least the inclusion of Arab in the category title.

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