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In January 2014, AAFSC kicked off our partnership with the New School's Engage Media Lab on a participatory media program called "I Need To Be Heard!" In this program, our students are able to learn and use storytelling to express their lived experiences through filmmaking. With the guidance of graduate students from Engage Media Lab and AAFSC staff, we have seen our youth undergo notable transformations in their attitudes, with boosts of confidence and self-esteem. As the directors, actors, editors, and producers of their own films, our students are able to hone their technical filmmaking skills.

Youth participating in this media project have been breaking barriers and changing minds through their work. Together, and over the course of more than 40 short films produced, participants have tackled issues of bigotry and Islamophobia, gender disparities within the community and the tough transition to life in America. Students have talked about what it meant to be part of a diaspora dealing with war back home, and exploring their various identities. At the end of each semester, the students showcase films, sharing their work with their peers and the wider community. Three of our students’ films have even been selected for film festivals.

A selection of our students’ films:

Al Brooklyn

AAFSC held a contest for our “I Need to Be Heard!” students to put together a promo-video for the Center. Al Brooklyn won and is now featured on our website’s homepage! This film was created by Hamoud, Nirmeen, Maram, Sammy, Ezzaldeen, and Haroun.


Leen speaks out on how her view about sexual assault differs from some of the widespread thoughts in her community in this satire.


In Roots, Hamoud, Nirmeen, Sammy, Haroun, Maram, and Adam, look into the challenges of peer pressure and the importance of staying true to oneself and one’s identity.

What Makes Us Who We Are

A visual exploration of three significant locations to our youth, this film delves into how Omar, Nagi, and Nayaf’s identities are shaped by AAFSC, the soccer field, and mosque.

Kol Yom Struggles (Everyday Struggles)

This film by Leen, Abdulla, Arwa, Osama, and Naef is based on true events—their lived experiences of discrimination as young Arab-Americans and Muslims.

I'm the Star

The students were challenged to create their films in only three takes. Ezzaldeen features some great dabke in his movie.

My Future Abdullah

What do you daydream about? In this film, the students were asked to explore their daydreams. Abdullah and Hamoud think about a future career.

I Need To Be Heard!

“I Need to Be Heard!” truly gives our students an outlet of creative self-expression. It is an important part of their experiences here at AAFSC. Please consider supporting “I Need to Be Heard!”


The Arab-American Family Support Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-sectarian organization that provides culturally and linguistically sensitive services to immigrant communities throughout New York City.  © 2017 All Rights Reserved.

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