AMWRRI was founded in 2009 in Milwaukee in response to the pressing need for documenting and conducting research on Arab and Muslim women’s experiences. AMWRRI seeks to promote the understanding of issues that impact Arab and Muslim women in the U.S. and abroad. It aims to expand public knowledge about Muslim communities beyond stereotypes, and give women from these communities an opportunity to voice their experiences with the immigration and settlement process in greater Milwaukee. It works to combat the ever-increasing Islamophobia and bigotry that targets these communities, especially after September 11th.
One of AMWRRI’s objectives is the long term oral history project. Arab and Muslim American women’s experiences are not documented, traced, and known, which makes it difficult to identify the issues that significantly affect these women’s lives and difficult to find the solutions that would enhance their situations. Moreover, scholars, researchers, and students interested in researching the Arab and Muslim community in greater Milwaukee find it difficult to obtain written materials on women’s (and men) histories and experiences. The project documents Arab and Muslim communities’ social histories through oral interviews and surveys, focusing on the experiences of first, second, and third generations of Arab and Muslim women. The organization is committed to ongoing projects and community engagement events that tackle important social and cultural issues in these communities. These projects seek to help increase women’s agency and elevate obstacles Muslim women face in their families, communities and society. Issues of concern are interfaith, interracial, and cross-cultural marriages, advocacy for members with disabilities in Arab and Muslim communities and their families, and human rights and gender equality.
The organization is also dedicated to increasing social and educational advancement for all generations of Arab and Muslim women, especially in the Greater Milwaukee region. By accumulating knowledge of Arabs and Muslims in the area, the information will enable non-profits, academics and other associations to organize their work with the help of this hands-on research. AMWRRI conducts training sessions of students and researchers on proper interview methods which will result in fair engagement with the issues concerning the Arab and Muslim community. This also helps empower women, many of whom are student members of Milwaukee Arab and Muslim communities themselves. They receive professional training on the methods of conducting oral history interviews by experts in the field. Our work is for the public, for archival and academic use, open to everyone. We were established by a group of humanities experts in the Milwaukee area and we continue to work as primarily a tool of acquisition and preservation of human history.