September 9, 2021
Noor Hindi (She/Her/Hers)| Communications Specialist |
ACCESS | 2651 Saulino Ct., Dearborn MI 48120 |
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) submitted a letter, cosigned by 38 other national, state, and local organizations, to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Xavier Becerra. The letter articulates the significant impact of COVID-19 on the Arab American and broader MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) community, the stories of organizations serving the MENA community, and policy reforms to better prepare organizations to serve their communities in the event of future pandemics.
Statement of Adam Beddawi, the D.C. Policy Manager of NNAAC, on action taken to advance the concerns of organizations serving Arab American and MENA communities regarding our national pandemic preparedness and response efforts:
“Throughout the pandemic, the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) heard the stories of countless organizations serving the Arab American and broader communities of Middle Easterners and North Africans. Ours is a story of systemic undercounting of COVID’s impact on our community members, who tend to suffer from social determinants of poor health. Ours is also a story of systemic underfunding of the organizations serving these communities through culturally and linguistically appropriate services, educational materials, or vaccinations. These stories are themselves chapters in a longer history of Arab and MENA exclusion from the Federal system for group recognition and resource distribution. Without sufficient representation, the claims of our community members go unheeded; the cities in which we reside go underserved.
As a result, ours is truly a story of the limitations of our data-driven Federal system for ensuring public welfare. This letter tells those stories and uses them to motivate several policy recommendations we believe can improve our national pandemic preparedness and response efforts. On behalf of NNAAC, I am pleased to submit this letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, who will soon work to implement legislation passed through the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to improve our pandemic preparedness and response efforts.”
The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a project of ACCESS, is a national consortium of independent Arab American community-based organizations. Established in 2004 as a project of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), NNAAC currently has 27 members in 11 different states. Our mission is the development of Arab American community-based nonprofit organizations that understand, meet the needs, and represent the concerns of Arab Americans at a local level, while also collectively addressing those issues at a national level. Our vision is to foster economic, cultural, social and political empowerment of Arab Americans. We are committed to working collaboratively to support the development of strong and effective Arab American community-based organizations that mobilize locally and nationally to empower the Arab American community.