Throughout the month of April, the Golden Gate University Race, Gender, Sexuality, & Social Justice Law Journal will focus its lens on lifting up the Arab American community in celebration of National Arab American Heritage Month. More substantive posts will provide insight into how American law and society have both impacted and been shaped by Arab Americans, but today’s post will follow the lead of Warren David, president of Arab America.
“This is the time of the year when we take pride in the contributions Arab Americans are making in education, medicine, law, business, technology, government, military service, and culture,” said David. He went on to say, “This year, we celebrate the accomplishments of educators, writers, poets, and musicians, who promote the Arab American heritage and culture–a testament to the contributions Arab Americans have made to America’s rich diversity.”
What follows is a non-exhaustive listicle of notable Arab Americans you may already know and perhaps admire, but may have had no idea were of Arab ancestry. Why is such a list important? Because representation matters; studies have shown that relatability and identification help stymie unconscious bias by diminishing the brain’s reliance on stereotypes.
Notable Arab Americans
- Elias J. Corey, organic chemistry professor at Harvard University, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
- Michael E. DeBakey, cardiovascular surgeon and researcher, Lasker Award laureate.
- Laura Nader, cultural anthropologist.
- Joanne Chory, plant biologist and geneticist.
- Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
- Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple.
- George Joseph, founder of Mercury Insurance Group.
- John J. Mack, former CEO of Morgan Stanley.
- Sam Yagan, CEO of ShopRunner, Vice-Chair of Match Group, Co-Founder of OkCupid, CorazonCap, TechStars Chicago, SparkNotes, & eDonkey.
- Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s.
In Arts & Entertainment
- Shannon Elizabeth, American Pie, Scary Movie.
- Alia Shawkat, Arrested Development.
- Tiffany, musician best known for “I Think We’re Alone Now”.
- Jerry Seinfeld, stand-up comedian.
- French Montana, rapper.
- Mona Simpson, author, Anywhere but Here.
- Samuel John Hazo, Poet Laureate for Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- William Peter Blatty, best known for his 1971 horror novel The Exorcist.
- Stephen Adly Guirgis, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.
- Jack Marshall, poet known for Millennium Fever.
In Media & Journalism
- Helen Thomas, reporter, columnist, and White House correspondent.
- Susan Chira, New York Times correspondent.
- Paula Faris, television correspondent and personality.
- Dena Takruri, on-air presenter and producer with AJ+.
- Anthony Shadid, two-time (2004 and 2010) Pulitzer Prize-winning international journalist.
- Spencer Abraham, U.S. Secretary of Energy and U.S. Senator (R-Mich.).
- Justin Amash, U.S. Representative (R-Michigan).
- Ray LaHood, U.S. Congressman (R-Illinois), U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
- Dina Powell, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy.
- Chris Sununu, Governor of New Hampshire (R).
- Steve Kerr, NBA player and coach.
- Doug Flutie, NFL player.
- Joe Robbie, former owner and founder of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
- Kelly Slater, professional surfer.
- Jeff George, NFL player.