Iftar and screening a huge success!

NNAAC partnered with the Arab American National Museum for an Iftar and screening event that sold out the auditorium. rachidnadiasam.jpg

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a project of ACCESS, on July 17 partnered with the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, MI for an Iftar dinner and movie screening of The Citizen, an award-winning film about a Lebanese immigrant who arrives in the U.S. on September 10, 2001. A capacity crowd of over 150 filled the auditorium, forcing staff to add extra chairs to accommodate the overflow.

Immediately following the screening, NNAAC Director Nadia Tonova led a panel with the movie’s director, Sam Kadi, where the audience engaged in a lively discussion about the main themes found in The Citizen, and the significance of the platform that the creative arts provide Arab Americans in sharing their stories and having their voices heard.

The overall response to the film was positive, and many stood up to simply thank Sam Kadi not just for his attendance that evening, but for creating the film that spoke to them so powerfully. The diverse audience connected to The Citizen in different ways, whether it was the immigrant experience that they have gone through themselves, or the human experience that the main character went through in his struggle to achieve his dream of U.S. citizenship status and success.


“I think this film is a representation of our beautiful constitution,” said one woman, a teacher, who shared that she often reminds her first-generation children the importance of appreciating their citizenship.

A last minute order of additional food was placed just in time to feed every attendee, of whom only about half actually were fasting, while everyone else was there simply to join in on the cultural celebration. Prior to dinner, the diverse crowd was briefed on what Ramadan means and the traditions of Iftar, such as why every table was set with a plate of dates.

dinner.jpgThis marked the first event officially sponsored by The Campaign to TAKE ON HATE, a multi-year, national initiative to challenge negative perceptions and bias toward Arab and Muslim Americans, create systematic policy changes at the national and local levels and build greater capacity for the community as a whole. 

TAKE ON HATE has begun rolling out local efforts in three key cities – Detroit, New York and San Francisco – with Chicago launching theirs later this year. Learn more about the campaign at www.takeonhate.org.

The Citizen is currently available for instant streaming on Netflix, as well as on DVD.


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