The Arab American Civic Council (AACC) has released the results of its Community History and Needs Survey. The AACC surveyed business owners, residents, frequent visitors, and community leaders between December 2021 to April 2022. It consisted of seventeen (17) oral interviews and eighteen (18) online survey responses. The survey asked participants to define the meaning of Little Arabia in their terms. The survey confirms and clarifies that constituents see Little Arabia as a cultural and business hub that caters to a diverse market from the Middle East and North Africa region. When asked what Little Arabia means to them, participants overwhelmingly responded by saying “Home.”
The top four needs of the community were: Education, Safety, Housing, and Jobs.
66.7% of participants were foreign-born, with those born in the USA tend to associate with their family’s country of origin. 86% of participants were bilingual, and some were multilingual. The top three spoken languages in the district are English, Arabic, and Spanish.
Several themes emerged when reviewing the data provided by the participants:
- Promotion and Awareness: Participants felt that positive imagery surrounding the Arab American community, businesses, and services should be promoted more. Participants requested positive signage, advertisement, and materials that derive from a sense of positivity from the community. The need for writers, poets, musicians, and artists to foster a sense of identity within Little Arabia should be encourage.
- Renovations and Beautification: Interviewees reflected the desire to see a perfect Little Arabia as one that is clean and reflects Middle East and North African heritage. Development ideas given include: string lights, Arabic-inspired architecture, a museum, a cultural center, a souq/bazaar, arches, monuments, and a boutique hotel.
- Education and Community Development: Sentiments from the participants reflected a need for more community activities, educational workshops, and informational materials to empower the community with knowledge.
- Little Arabia Offers an Opportunity for All: It should not be ignored how important Anaheim is for immigrants to get their foot into their American dream.
- Systemic Changes at the Policy and Social Levels: Participants felt they are still misunderstood, and would desire to see changes occur at the leadership level.
- Encouraging a Women’s Market: Ideas include professional development studies and exercise and athletic centers, among others.
- Assistance from the City or the Government: Receiving government support and recognizing the community’s MENA identity will be helpful to support the community.
Below is the Executive Summary of the survey:
Recommendations for future projects:
- A Taste of Little Arabia Community Event
- Educational Initiatives through Public Schools and Libraries
- Establishment of a Little Arabia Identity through Arts, such as murals and cultural events
- Formation of a Chamber of Commerce
- Projects Engaging Female Residents
Download the full report below:
Little Arabia is a cultural destination that comprises dozens of Arab American-owned businesses on and around Brookhurst Street in West Anaheim. Since the 1980s, Anaheim’s Brookhurst corridor has transformed into a cultural and commercial epicenter for the Arab American community.
A beloved cultural destination, Little Arabia has provided opportunity for immigrants to acquire their American dream and became an attraction for Americans to enjoy the Middle Eastern culture.