Welcome to RAWI

RAWI - Arabic Text 2

Established in 1993, RAWI is a national organization that provides mentoring, community, and support for Arab-American writers and those with roots in the Arabic speaking world and diaspora. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) literary organization dedicated to supporting and disseminating creative writing and scholarly writing by Arab/SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) Americans and those from the Arabic speaking world–which often means creating space and highlighting voices and people threatened by erasure.

RAWI is committed to a hospitality that comes from a belief that our bayt is large. We are committed to creating a safe community space that opposes empire, white supremacy, racism, zionism, patriarchy, homophobia, and all repressive ideologies that diminish humanity. We are committed to nurturing writers to create works that aim for our liberation, resisting the orientalizing impulses of American and Western political and literary culture.

We put on readings, panels, workshops, roundtables, conferences, and festivals that emphasize inclusivity. Despite the fact that Arab-American/SWANA voices continue to become more prominent, opportunities for us to share our experiences and insights, as well as to discuss the trajectory of our community’s literature, is limited. Therefore, RAWI’s biennial gathering provides a rare opportunity to bring a large number of Arab-American/SWANA writers, artists, and scholars (and their readers, allies, and admirers) into the same space so we can engage in various dialogues otherwise unavailable to us.

Statement on Palestine

The Radius of Arab American Writers stands in solidarity with Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem, Gaza, and all of historic Palestine resisting settler-colonial violence. We mourn the Palestinian lives already lost, both this past week and since 1948. We urge those in the diaspora to join us in amplifying the voices of Palestinians back home. We call on other literary organizations to affirm their commitment to Palestine and Palestinian voices by meeting the demands of those on the ground. 

Those in the US, we encourage you to contact your representatives to fight for an end to US military aid that fuels this violence

Spend time with the work of those located in Palestine. Here are a few places to help you get started. 

Threads by community members:

For those who are seeking to understand or hoping to lend tangential support, we recommend the following resources:

Statement of Solidarity

The Radius of Arab American Writers stands in solidarity with the protests across the United States following the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others at the hands of racist police officers, civilians, and the systems that enable injustice and brutality. Solidarity with Black people has always been important and this moment is no different. We must say Black Lives Matter, but we must also act on this truth.

The imagination and efforts of many resistance movements in Arab countries, from the struggle to free Palestine and beyond, would not be possible without the continued solidarity of Black resistance movements, as well as the labor of Black radical intellectuals who have built and contributed to much of the language underlying our conceptions of resistance. Our work becomes moot without acknowledging this and standing with Black people. Further, our focus as Arab-American writers must include amplifying the voices of Afro-Arabs in our own communities, and keeping Black liberation at the forefront of our work, not just as writers, but community members. 

We must interrogate our own relationships to law enforcement and divest from trusting the military force that is U.S. law enforcement; we must challenge the carceral way of thinking into which we are all socialized as a result of growing up in the United States–and any other settler colonial nations. We must be accountable to how to take anti-racist action in the U.S., and how to do so in our countries of origin and their respective diasporas. This means anti-racism begins at home and must synapse into the world around us through our actions as responsible citizens of this planet. 

This guide by Rana Abdelhamid and Mafaz Al-Suwaidan is a good resource. Additionally, we encourage our community members to donate to their local bail funds and to organizations doing important work in their communities. Below is a list from which to start. 

– The RAWI Board, June 1st, 2020

Places to donate:

Informational Resources: