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Department of State

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Lt. Governor and Secretary of State

Statutes & Rules

New Jersey Arab-American Heritage Commission

Executive Order #123 Governor Jon S. Corzine
Establishes the New Jersey Arab-American Heritage Commission


WHEREAS, 1.2 million Americans are of Arab ancestry representing a highly diverse group, in ancestral country of origin, religion, and historic identity, which also shares a common linguistic and cultural heritage; and

WHEREAS, New Jersey is home to 70,000 Americans of Arab ancestry and is one of five states, along with New York, California, Michigan, and Florida, where, collectively, almost half of all Americans of Arab ancestry reside, and the counties of Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, and Passaic have a high concentration of Americans of Arab ancestry; and

WHEREAS, Americans of Arab ancestry contribute to the economic, social, cultural, and civic vitality of the State and the nation; and

WHEREAS, nationally, Americans of Arab ancestry, and those perceived as of Arab ancestry, were among the secondary victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001: children have been subject to bullying, harassment, and bias in schools; and adults have been subject to discrimination, hate crimes, and other hostilities in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation; and

WHEREAS, it is imperative that all citizens be treated fairly, with dignity, respect, and tolerance, and that the rights of all citizens be protected; and

WHEREAS, dissemination of knowledge of the heritage, culture, and history of Arabs and Americans of Arab ancestry is important to the State of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, it is necessary and proper to educate the citizens of New Jersey about the heritage, culture, and history of Arabs and Americans of Arab ancestry;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JON S. CORZINE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

  1. There is hereby established, in the Department of State, the New Jersey Arab-American Heritage Commission (“Commission”).
  2. The Commission shall be composed of twenty-five (25) members. The following officials, or their designees, shall serve on the Commission, ex officio, and with a vote: the Secretary of State; the Commissioner of the Department of Education; the Attorney General; the Director of the Division on Civil Rights; the President of the State Board of Education; the Chair, Governor’s Ethnic Advisory Council; and the Chair, New Jersey Human Relations Council.
  3. The Commission shall also consist of one public member appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the President of the Senate, one public member appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the General Assembly, and sixteen (16) public members appointed by the Governor. The Governor shall select a chair and the members shall elect annually from among their members a vice-chair.
  4. The public members shall be residents of the State, chosen with due regard for geographic representation, diversity, education, knowledge, experience, and academic post-graduate level degrees related to the heritage, culture, and history of Arabs and Americans of Arab ancestry.
  5. The Governor shall appoint each public member for a term of three years, except that of the public members first appointed, one-third shall be appointed to a three-year term, one-third shall be appointed to a two-year term, and one-third shall be appointed to a one-year term. Public members shall serve until their successors are appointed and qualified, and any vacancy in the membership of the committee shall be filled for the unexpired term in the manner provided for the original appointment. Public members of the Commission shall serve without compensation.
  6. The Commission shall meet as soon as practical after the chair and a majority of the members have been appointed. The presence of a majority of the authorized membership of the Commission shall constitute a quorum and shall be required for the conduct of official business.
  7. The responsibilities and duties of the Commission are as follows:
    1. To recognize, study, and share information on Arab heritage, culture, and history;
    2. To coordinate events observing the heritage, culture, and history of Americans of Arab ancestry, including an annual Arab Heritage Month in April of each year.
    3. To provide expertise to and to collaborate with the Department of Education to continue to develop content and curriculum guides on the heritage, culture, and history of Americans of Arab ancestry in the State’s Core Curriculum Content Standards in Social Studies;
    4. To study and report on programs to promote tolerance and respect for all of the citizens of this State; and
    5. To coordinate events with the Department of State observing the heritage, culture, and history of Americans of Arab ancestry.
  8. The Department of Education shall assist the Commission in the dissemination to educators, administrators, and public school districts in the State educational information and other materials on Arab culture and the contributions of Americans of Arab ancestry to society. Such information and materials also shall be made available to non-public schools.
  9. The Commission is authorized to raise funds, through direct solicitation or other fundraising events, alone or with other groups, and accept gifts, grants and bequests from individuals, corporations, foundations, governmental agencies, public and private organizations and institutions, to defray the Commission’s administrative expenses and carry out its purposes as set forth in this Executive Order.
  10. The Commission is authorized to call on any department, office, division, or agency of State government to provide such information, resources, or other assistance deemed necessary to discharge its responsibilities under this Order. Each department, office, division, and agency of this State, to the extent not inconsistent with law, is hereby required to cooperate with the Commission and to furnish it with such information and assistance as is necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Order. The Commission may consult with experts or other knowledgeable individuals in the public or private sector on any aspect of its mission.
  11. The Commission shall establish a schedule of meetings and report periodically to the Governor on its activities and recommendations. An initial report to the Governor shall be submitted within six months from the date of the first meeting and annually thereafter.
  12. This Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 24th day of October, Two Thousand and Eight, and of the Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Thirty-Third.

/s/ Jon S. Corzine



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