Announcing AAFSC’s New Assistant Executive Director

May 10, 2024

Hizam’s Story

Hizam joined the Arab-American Family Support Center 23 years ago when he took a position at the front desk at 150 Court Street, serving as the first touchpoint for community members in need. The organization quickly came to appreciate Hizam’s remarkable abilities as a service provider, creative problem solver, and compassionate community advocate. He served as a resource navigator by connecting community members to programs and benefits. He did not have one particular area of specialty but, instead, quickly learned and intuitively understood NYC’s vast resource landscape, becoming known for addressing whatever need came in the door. At the time, AAFSC was responding to the aftermath of 9/11 and the rise in anti-Arab and anti-Muslim discrimination, hate, and violence. Hizam’s commitment to the safety and wellbeing of this community shone. Again and again, Hizam has embodied the work of uplifting AMENAMSA communities in a city and society that too often neglects their needs.

Later on, when AAFSC saw a gap in its capacity to provide legal services, Hizam stepped up. His skillset translated seamlessly to the important and difficult work supporting individuals and families to navigate the labyrinthine immigration system. As a quick study, Hizam developed the expertise needed to create and grow a robust legal services shop that supports families to find security while he provides a sense of comfort, understanding, and compassion in some of our clients’ most vulnerable moments. His deep connections and position of respect in the AAFSC community have drawn hundreds if not thousands of community members to AAFSC over the years. To this day, an amazing number of people coming to AAFSC ask for Hizam by name.

As AAFSC grew, Hizam became embedded in every facet of its functions, including helping to set and implement its strategy. Those who worked with Hizam during this time remember him as “Mister Helper” – available 24/7, ready to work on any issue, and an essential part of the culture. Hizam has never taken his finger off the pulse of the organization or lost his deep sense of knowledge and connection to the many services we provide and communities we reach.

So, it is with great admiration and excitement that we share with you that Hizam is AAFSC’s new Assistant Executive Director, continuing to support AAFSC’s day-to-day operations while playing a bigger role in its strategic direction. Congratulations, Hizam!

AAFSC’s Migrant Response, Highlighted by NY Nonprofit Media

In an op-ed published Tuesday in NY Nonprofit Media, Hizam Wahib, AAFSC’s Assistant Executive Director writes, “Now is the time for government and philanthropy to invest in the organizations serving at the frontlines of this crisis, to reimagine the policies that directly impact lives, and recommit to an equitable future for New York. As a son of immigrants, trust me when I say, when we are given the chance, we make this city better.”

AAFSC will keep greeting new arrivals in their languages – connecting them to English classes and government benefits, feeding them halal food, and supporting them with legal advice – but community-based organizations cannot do it alone. We’re calling on NYC’s government and philanthropy sectors to act now.