Advocates were present at Anaheim City Council’s September 28th meeting as the newly-appointed Councilwoman Gloria Shahagún Ma’ae (“muh-eye”) was sworn in. Fellows Amin Nash and Aneesah Muhammad provided public comments about their connection to Little Arabia and pressed the council to designate Little Arabia in District 2.
Amin provided examples of how Little Arabia served as an enclave for his mother and aunts, providing them a sense of safety and freedom they couldn’t find in Iraq while under Saddam. “Little Arabia allowed my mom and aunts to spend their money how they willed and to feel a sense of freedom they didn’t have while under Saddam’s regime,” Amin said. “It was a shame to see the community treated with similar suspicion after 9/11, and it would be a bigger shame if these negative perspectives continue in America.”
Amin’s family arrived in America to find a better life away from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Under Saddam, it was normal for people to be under public surveillance campaigns that targeted people based on their ethnic identity or religious beliefs. Freedom of expression was non-existent, and it was customary for women to be denied top positions, as those who would score high grades in schools were often ignored and not given merited jobs.
Aneesah described Little Arabia as a location where she and other Muslim women could feel safe and at home. She recalls how the businesses in Brookhurst have helped people find jobs and make a living as they transitioned from their home countries into America. “Little Arabia has provided economic stability and prosperity for many families as well as in Anaheim,” she said. “It is a place where many people can feel safe, especially Muslim women like me.”
Councilwoman Ma’ae represents District 2 and has publicly opposed the designation of Little Arabia. The residents of Anaheim did not elect Ma’ae, and instead, she was appointed by the council majority to fill the vacant seat after the resignation of Councilman Jordan Brandman.
Many applicants who wish to represent District 2 in the future have supported Little Arabia and respect the enclave as a location for immigrants seeking to achieve their American dream. Ma’ae will be up for re-election on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022.
Support the designation of Little Arabia by signing this petition and share the word about the process.
Join us at the upcoming Anaheim City Council meeting for a day of action: On October 26th at 5:00 pm, plan to come to City Council with your friends and family to give public comments about your connection with Little Arabia. Make noise, get yourself heard, and celebrate with authentic Arabic desserts and friends.