Syrian Americans have been part of the rich fabric of American life for over a century. Syrian Americans include members of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. Syrian Americans have contributed and elevated American politics, sports, popular and high culture, academia, industry, and civic life for generations.
If Paula was your favorite judge on American Idol in its heydey, you have danced along with a Syrian American.
If Jerry Seinfeld ever cracked you up, you have laughed alongside a Syrian American.
If you’ve used any Mac product, you can thank Steve Jobs, whose birth parents were from Syria.
If you’re a woman pursuing a career in law, you can look to the inspiring example of Rosemary Barkett, the first woman to serve on the Florida Supreme Court, and the first woman Chief Justice of that court, who has Syrian heritage.
If you live in Michigan or follow libertarian politics, you may have been represented in Washington by Justin Amash (R-MI-3), a Syrian American.
If you’ve been able to quickly and easily photocopy something, you can thank Paul Orfalea, the Syrian American who founded Kinkos.
If you attend Wofford College or Purdue University, your school is led by a Syrian American (Nayef Samhat and Mitch Daniels, respectively).
If you ever wanted to take up surfing because that Kelly Slater is just too darn gorgeous, that’s probably because he has Syrian heritage.
If you get your news from CNN, you may hear it from celebrated Syrian American journalist Hala Gorani.
If you’ve enjoyed watching Homeland, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Finding Forrester (etc.) then I’m sure you’ve recognized the acting talent of Syrian American F. Murray Abraham.
If you’re a big hockey fan, you are probably aware of former Blackhawk current Blue Jacket Brandon Saad’s talent on the ice– yes, Syrian Americans even play professional hockey.
If we want to #makeamericagreat again, how about we take in as many Syrians as possible, huh?
Note: This was originally posted to my personal Facebook page on 15 November, 2015.