Arab American Action Network

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The Arab American Action Network is a Chicago community center founded in 1995. It is a community-based organization that strives to strengthen the Arab immigrants to the United States and Arab American community, primarily in the Chicago area. Through use of such tactics as community organizing, advocacy, education and social services, and leadership development, it seeks to empower the Arab population in Chicago's low-income South Side. The organization acts as an advocate for Palestinian issues and for women's issues.[1]

It is the brainchild of Columbia University historian and Professor of Arab Studies Rashid Khalidi and Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs Assistant Dean Mona Khalidi. The Arab American Action Network is a Core Member of the Chicago Cultural Alliance,[2] a consortium of 25 ethnic museums and cultural centers in Chicago.

Ali Hasan Abunimah, co-founder and editor of The Electronic Intifada, has served on the Board of Directors of the Arab American Action Network.[3]


Partnership with Illinois Department of Human Services

The AAAN works closely with the Illinois Department of Human Services and its case managers to provide interpretation services specifically intended for Arab-American members of the surrounding community who are currently accessing public benefits. The joint goal of the AAAN and the Illinois DHS is to ensure that benefits are received and utilized equally amongst all prospective recipients by ensuring that there are no linguistic or cultural barriers where administration of these benefits are concerned.

Case Management

Approximately 450 families in the community utilize the AAAN for legal assistance, housing advocacy, translation services, counseling, or childcare services.

English As A Second Language (ESL)

In collaboration with Chicago's Metropolitan Family Services, the Arab American Action Network provides two levels of ESL classes for over 75 women per year on the southwest side of Chicago and the Southwest Suburbs.[4]

Rasmea Odeh[edit]

Rasmea Yousef Odeh, also known as Rasmea Yousef, is associate director at the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, Illinois.[5][6][7] She was convicted in Detroit in November 2014 of immigration fraud, for concealing her conviction and imprisonment for a fatal terrorist bombing, sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, stripped of her US citizenship, and will be deported from the United States once she is done serving her time.[8][9]