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December 04, 2001
Fire badly damages Arab American Action Network Offices

By Ali Abunimah


CHICAGO--In the early hours of this morning fire broke out at the building which houses the offices of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN). No one was injured in the fire which caused extensive damage to the offices of the Chicago-based community organization.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire, which started near the back of the two story building at 63rd Street and Kedzie Avenue in Chicago's Southwest Side. We have no indication at the present time as to the cause of the fire, and we cannot speculate about it. We await the outcome of the investigation.

The building which houses the Arab American Action Network has served as a community center and meeting place for Chicago's Arab community since the early 1970s. Most of the damage was concentrated in a first floor store, where it is believed to have started, and rose to the second floor area above, where the AAAN offices are located. Other parts of the building sustained moderate damage or are intact, and there is water damage and broken windows from the fire department's fight against the fire.

AAAN has received a number of messages of support and concern from around the City of Chicago and the country, as the fire was reported on the television news this morning. We gratefully acknowledge the support and solidarity of all our friends.

We are still assessing our situation in the wake of this fire, and in due course may be able to better respond to the generous offers of assistance we have already received. In the meantime, we ask that offers of assistance be directed to the Crossroads Fund at (773) 227-7676 which has kindly agreed to accept such calls on our behalf until we can restore our telephone service and relocate the office.

A community is made up of more than buildings and an organization is more than its offices. Even at this difficult time for the Arab American community, we are determined to emerge from this challenge stronger than ever before.

On behalf of the staff and board,

Ali Abunimah (vice president of the board)

Arab American Action Network
3148 W. 63rd Street
Chicago, IL 60629
Tel: 773-436-6060 (telephone is not currently functioning)
Web: www.aaan.org
email: aaan@aaan.org