This year is Arabic Club’s inaugural year and it aims to promote the Arabic language and Arab culture on the K campus. There has never been a club before at K dedicated to these topics. This club was organized after the start of the Arabic program at K last year.
Bianca Delgado ‘17 and Maribel Blas-Rangel ‘17 are members of Arabic club and see this club as not only groundbreaking but also imperative to K’s campus in providing understanding and inclusivity.
“With such awful rhetoric lately that has demonized the Arabic language and the rise of Arab and Islamophobia in the United States, we found it really important to create this club to be able to dispel all the misconceptions and negativity that have been floating around,” said Delgado.
The club hopes to host events where everyone can speak openly about issues within the Arab community.
“At our last community event, we were able to experience a bit of the Arab culture through drinking coffee, talking with different people, and learning new vocabulary. Making those connections are crucial for creating a safe, comfortable space,” said Blas-Rangel.
Delgado and Blas-Rangel both see how important this club is for students who have never had the chance like this before to share their culture and talk with the rest of the campus.
“We hope to keep pushing for K to include the Arab narrative on campus. We don’t have a Middle Eastern studies department but hopefully this will change if administration sees how important it is, given that it’s such a huge region in the world full of stories and issues that are equally as valid and important as those in Western Europe, Latin America, and other regions of the world,” said Delgado.
In addition to being open for K students, Arabic club is collaborating with Western’s Arabic club and weekly meetings rotate between the two campuses. This allows the Kalamazoo community as a whole to come together and learn more about Arab culture.
“It’s been awesome getting to meet other students of Arabic and also those of Arab decent that attend Western. Western has a huge community of Arab students,” said Delgado.