Heritage day: Arab-Americans honored at Borough Hall’s “Embrace Your Hyphen” event

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Party time: Maher Abdelqader, Reema Albaahri, and Rowan R. posed with Fati and Adam Awad, who served tamarind juice at the event.
Proud moment: Anthropologist and lawyer J.C. Salyer received a citation from Borough President Adams.
Say cheese: Rina Affe and Faten Agha posed together at the Arab-American Heritage Celebration at Borough Hall.
Proud moment: Borough President Adams presented the staffers of Tarab NYC — an organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and gender non-conforming Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African people — with a citation.

They’re proud of where they came from.

Arab-American Kings Countians gathered at Borough Hall to honor their heritage at the annual “Embrace Your Hyphen” event on April 4.

The celebration offered a chance for the Brooklynites to pay tribute to their homelands while also celebrating their impact in the Borough of Churches, according to one attendee.

“I’m a Syrian-American, so I’m very proud of my heritage, and I thought it was a beautiful moment to recognize some Arab-American leaders in the community,” said Bay Ridgite Reema Albahri.

Borough President Eric Adams honored four Arab-American Brooklynites for their work on behalf of the borough’s Arab communities, including anthropologist and lawyer J.C. Salyer, banker Randa El-Sayed, State Conservative party leader Gerard Kassar, and the staff of Tarab NYC, an organization that caters to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and gender nonconforming Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African people.

And after the speeches and awards were over, attendees took in a high-energy performance by the Freedom Dabka Group — a Palestinian dance group with a number of Brooklyn members — and chowed down on a feast of Middle Eastern food provided by a number of local restaurants.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 2:50 pm, April 9, 2019
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