I plan on writing one post (maybe two) about one of the topics that was discussed at the Michigan Municipal League conference that Andrew and I attended last week. But first a post about visiting the Arab American National Museum. Including our MML group leader and an MML photographer there were 12 people in our group!! And seven of these people were from Lowell! It was nice having a small group even though we didn’t take up much room in the huge touring bus.
The last full day of the conference you could sign up for a brief tour of something in the area. Although I lived in Dearborn from the time I was 13 until going away for college I had never been to this museum. The outdoor entrance to the museum is a mosaic, which is pretty cool looking.
Growing up I lived submerged in ethnic and religious diversity. In Philadelphia many of my classmates were African American. Throughout the city there were neighborhoods of people from various cultures and religions. In Dearborn while attending high school it was a “big deal” to see someone from the Arabic culture in the halls. It almost feels weird now to be living in a small city of 4,000 with little to no religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity.
According to the 2000 census Dearborn had the largest percentage (30%) of Arab Americans in the country. Dearborn public schools are closed if Ramadan falls during the school year because the district would not get daily state funding due to lack of number of students. Being Arabic does not mean you are Muslim. It does not mean you come from on particular country.
It was interesting walking through the museum, seeing how the Arabic culture came to the US. We had a guided tour, which was also nice and informative. I think if more people would learn about cultures and religions the world would be a better place.
After our stop at the museum we went to Shantila an Arabic bakery. I really should have taken some photos. There were cases of yummy looking things. The League treated our group to a snack there too!
After the tour Andrew and I ate dinner with my dad, got to visit quickly with my mom (she had to stay late at school for open house) and then headed home. It was a nice end to the conference.