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Arab American exhibit on display in Little Tokyo

March 1, 2013 |  7:15 am

ExhibitA traveling exhibit highlighting often forgotten Arab immigrants is  being displayed in Little Tokyo, sharing the work of a community and its contributions to history since the American Revolution.

"Patriots and Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country" takes center stage at the Japanese American National Museum through April 14. It tells the stories of everyday life, religion and family, honoring a people who now total nearly 4 million across the United States.

"This is a way of bringing cultures together, people together, under one society in which we all live. We share so much in common, both Arab and Japanese communities, it's a good pairing," says Janis Tanji Wong, the museum's director of marketing and communications.

The show, culled from the Arab American National Museum in Michigan, last appeared at UC Irvine.

It's the result of four years of research and hundreds of interviews, with an emphasis on those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, the Peace Corps and in diplomatic posts.

Arab Americans fought and died in every U.S. war, defending the Constitution and democracy. A selection of patriots with California roots may interest local visitors, and personal narratives in the multimedia exhibit reveal their different backgrounds. For viewers, one of the questions the show asks is how commitment to military service can affect their daily lives.

"It's important for those going to the exhibit to understand the diversity that Arab Americans represent," Wong said. "We hope to launch more cultural programs together."


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-- Anh Do

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