Activists testify to keep Little Arabia whole during Redistricting process

The Arab American Civic Council team was present at the Anaheim Redistricting Community meetings held by Anaheim on Monday, September 1st, Wednesday, September 15th, and Thursday, September 16th. AACC members, including NNAAC Fellows, gave individual testimonies about their experience and connection with Little Arabia and discussed the possible geographic boundaries of the district with the committee.

Redistricting of legislative boundaries occurs every ten years after the decennial census. This year, Anaheim saw an increase in population in District 5 and a decrease in District 3 and 4. These changes require the geographic boundaries of Anaheim neighborhoods to be redrawn. During this process, the City of Anaheim reaches out to residents and workers in Anaheim to discuss important distinctions for communities of interest, such as the Arab community in Anaheim.

Like many Arab Americans in Anaheim – and the Greater Los Angeles area – NNAAC Fellows can locate Little Arabia along Brookhurst Street between Crescent and Katella. This location brings memories of communion, belonging, and history for many Arab Americans.

Aneesah Muhammad testifies at Anaheim Redistricting meeting

Fellow Amin Nash recalled driving with his family from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Anaheim to purchase halal meats at Al Tayebat. “There was no such thing as halal meat stores in Las Vegas while I was growing up,” Amin recalls. “We would pack a cooler and make a trip every month or two to get our food. It was also important to be around Brookhurst so that we could feel connected to our culture, as we are so far away from home.”

Many businesses in Little Arabia treat their jobs as essential providers to ensure that the residents eat quality food with good ingredients. The belief is to keep people healthy and satisfied so that they can be successful in their own jobs

Fellow Aneesah Muhammad recalls giving the testimonials as nerve-wracking but felt comfortable when she realized how many people – Arabs and non-Arabs – wanted to see Little Arabia fairly-represented. “Seeing others made me want to get involved more and reach out to more people,” Aneesah said. “I know that I’m here to empower people, and being Palestinian American myself, it is important for me to help the community and get others involved.”

“This is a chance for us to finally get designated,” Aneesah continued. “This is a hard process, and we’ve sacrificed a lot as a community to make Little Arabia our center. There’s a lot of history in this process, so it is important to get out and let people hear our voices and our stories.”

Although Community Redistricting workshops have ended, you may submit written testimony about the process or a specific map to redistricting@anaheim.net, attend the public hearings in October at which you can speak about the process or specific map, and draw and submit maps here.

You can access more information by going onto the Anaheim Redistricting website and the Arab American Civic Council website.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for keeping me informed. I don’t live in Anaheim and I an non-Arab, but want to see people just become a part of everything our nation provides.

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