Have you ever wondered about the different types of art that a country harbors and what is the reason behind this diversity? No? You haven’t? Well, that’s probably because a country is never short of immigrants. Hardly no one ever thinks about immigrants as different people with different cultures, traditions, and heritages. As soon as they merge with the host country, some instantly click while other times they do not. However, they certainly bring with them a part of their native home. Thus, let’s raise awareness about Immigrants Heritage Month.
June is Immigrants Heritage Month; a time to celebrate and honor the contributions of immigrants to the United States. However, this celebration must not only be unique to the US. In fact, one believes that it ought to be a worldwide celebration of the merging of cultures. This month is an opportunity to recognize the unique experiences and cultures that immigrants bring to our countries as well as to reflect on the ways in which they have helped shape our nation’s history and identity. Immigrant Heritage Month was first established in 2014 by the non-profit organization “Define American” to encourage people to share their stories and celebrate the diversity of the US. Since then, it has grown into a nationwide celebration in the US, with events and activities taking place across the country.
Not only that but also, one of the goals of Immigrant Heritage Month is to challenge negative stereotypes and misconceptions about immigrants. Immigrants have played a vital role in the growth and success of the United States, and contributed to the US economy, culture, and society in countless ways. In addition to celebrating the contributions of immigrants, Immigrant Heritage Month is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges that immigrants face. Many immigrants experience discrimination, prejudice, barriers to education, employment, and healthcare. This month is a time to come together as a nation and work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all and explore what the immigrants bring to their new countries.
A case in point, one of the many examples of art that immigrants bring to their host culture, is writing; expressing their struggles, voicing their concerns, and reflecting their experience with its highs and lows. For instance, one has Therese Saliba’s “Sittee”, a biographical essay that follows the story of Saliba herself and her grandmother. This story is a part of a whole essay collection that traces the phantom of the grandmother in immigrants’ lives. In it , Saliba is recounting her relationship with her Lebanese grandma and how she came to accept her heritage while assimilating with American culture. Through her warm story, Saliba universalizes her experience and her grandmother’s experience who was uprooted from Lebanon due to political conflicts back in the 1900s. In fact, if you are interested in reading stories by first,
second or third generation Americans, you may want to check Judith Ortez Cofer, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Lee Young Li. These writers talk about their own experience with the host culture, how they assimilated, how they relate or feel distanced from their roots. If you are curious, check Cofer’s “Volar” and “American History”, Kingston’s “No Name Woman” and Li’s “Eating Alone” and “Eating Together”.
However, the immigrants in the US aren’t the only ones who express their experience and struggles or bring their art to the new culture. For instance, if one is to talk on the Egyptian scale; according to 2020 statistics, Egypt hosted 544 thousand international immigrants mostly from Palestine and Syria. In fact, it is estimated that the total number of immigrants in Egypt is 9 million immigrants and refugees. All of those people come bearing gems from their native culture, from impeccable work discipline to food and art. They are truly an added value.
There are many ways to get involved in Immigrant Heritage Month. You can attend events in your community, share your own immigrant story, or support organizations that work to promote immigrant rights and advocacy. By celebrating the diversity and contributions of immigrants, we can build a stronger, more vibrant, and more inclusive society for all. I encourage you to go online and lose yourself in the fantastic and shocking stories about immigrants and the spectacular kind of art they bring to the host country. trust me, you’ll be amazed. For further information, you can check the links below!
Now that you know about the month, are you intrigued or underwhelmed? Do you believe that it should receive more recognition? We certainly hope so because immigrants are a crucial part
of our societies, they become our friends, our families, and our role models. Their heritage is
worthy of the recognition that it deserves.
- “About Immigrant Heritage Month.” FWD.us.
- “Celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month.” American Immigration Council.
- International migrants in Egypt 2020, by country of origin
- IOM Egypt estimates the current number of international migrants living in Egypt to 9 million people originating from 133 countries