By Okon Ekpenyong
The Arab American Bar Association held its first-ever annual Gala on Friday, March 3rd, to honor its commitment to community service, mentorship, and involvement in the community.
An introduction of the organization to the community, providing scholarships for law students, dinner, a silent auction, music, and a 360-degree photo booth were all part of the gala night.
Since 2010, Arab American attorneys in Central Ohio have met regularly to network and socialize. By combining their experiences, they have proven that they can achieve much more by working together, and thus the Arab Bar Association of Ohio was formed.
“In addition to community service, mentoring, and social and legal engagement, AABAR-Ohio will be a voice for Arab American attorneys in the Ohio legal community to address these critical issues of societal and legal importance,” according to the organization’s website.
There is one national Arab American bar association (NAABA); however, some states have their own, such as the Arab American Bar Association of Illinois and the Arab American Bar Association of Michigan. There is a desire by the Ohio chapters to engage and work with other bar associations and law schools in the state as well as with other Arab associations throughout the country.
By regularly meeting up, whether through a conference or a small gathering, AABAR-Ohio will continue to advocate for racial and ethnic justice, diversity in the workplace, religious freedom, criminal justice reform, and immigration reform.
Six law students from six different law schools across the state of Ohio received scholarships totaling $2,000 each, according to Stephanie Hanna, one of the association’s board members.
Saleh AWADALLAH is the current president of the organization, followed by NATHALIE DIBO, of Yourkvitch & Dibo, as vice president; BASSEL ABDALLAH, of Progressive Expert Consulting, as secretary; and MOHAMMAD A FARAJ, of Bitcoin Depot, as treasurer.
“It was an honor to attend the Arab American Bar Association of Ohio’s First Annual Gala on Friday,” Sara Valentine, one of the members, said.
She also expressed her pride in being part of such an impactful organization and cannot wait for the next event.
Peter Farah of J.M. Smucker Company, Stephanie Anna of the other 85, Cherrefe Kadri of Law Office of Cherrefe A. Kadri, MALEK KHAWAM of Mansour Gavin LPA, and MAJEED G. MAKHLOUF of Berns, Ockner & Greenberger makes up of the Board members. The others are Lila Raslan of Raslan Pla and Company, MAZEN H. RASOUL from Rasoul Law Office, and Maryland Ubaid of Baker & Hosteler.
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