February is Black History Month

Join us in the fight for educational programming around the history in the US. of African American life and accomplishment in the US.

Equity & Inclusion Calendar

January

  • January Is Poverty Awareness Month

    Although the United States is among the wealthiest nations in the world, poverty effects a sizeable portion of our population. In 2020, for example, the official poverty rate was 11.4% (up 1% from 2019). That’s roughly 37.2 million people living in poverty (3.3 million more than in 2019).

    To shine a spotlight on poverty and its many impacts, January is recognized as National Poverty in America Awareness Month.

    Today’s Impact

    The U.S. Census Bureau collects annual data on poverty using two primary metrics. The first is called the official poverty measure, which is based solely on cash resources. The second is called the supplemental poverty measure and includes both cash and noncash resources, as well as subtractions of expenses such as taxes, child care, health care, and more. Further, the poverty threshold the Census Bureau uses to determine U.S. population numbers varies based on a variety of factors, including family size and the ages of family members.

    While the calculations may be daunting, the underlying fact is that roughly one in ten Americans live below the poverty line. Many more hover so close to it that a single mishap—an illness, a vehicle breakdown, a family member laid off from their job—can catapult them into dire circumstances. Overwhelmingly, poverty is shown to be a product of racial injustice, with 19.5% of Black Americans and 17% of Hispanic Americans living in poverty. Those experiencing poverty face housing and food insecurity, inadequate access to healthcare and resulting health issues, lack of employment and educational opportunities, and higher rates of violence than any other measurable group in the country.  

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Fighting poverty begins with understanding the myriad ways it affects daily life. The Census Bureau collects resources on the various challenges of poverty through America Counts: Stories About Income and Poverty. You can also find resources through Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, which also offers thorough reports on Socioeconomic Mobility.

    Educational opportunities are diminished for those experiencing poverty, but the U.S. Department of Education offers an excellent guide to supporting low-income and first-generation college students.

    Sources:
    Census.gov. 2021. How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty. [online] Available at: < https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty/guidance/poverty-measures.html >

    Census.gov. 2022. National Poverty in America Awareness Month: January 2022. [online] Available at: < https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/poverty-awareness-month.html >

    Census.gov. 2022. Two Ways the U.S. Census Bureau Measures Poverty to Capture Clearer Picture of Poverty in America. [online] Available at: < https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2022/01/national-poverty-in-america-awareness-month-measuring-poverty.html >

    Heartlandalliance.org. 2022. Poverty Awareness Month. [online] Available at: < https://www.heartlandalliance.org/poverty-awareness-month-how-we-act/ >

  • Celebrate World Religion Day

    Honored each year on the third Sunday in January, World Religion Day is a reminder of the need for harmony and understanding between religions and faith systems. The day was initiated and first celebrated in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, though it is recognized by people of all faiths who seek to emphasize the ways religion can serve as a unifying force.

    The concept of unity that characterizes World Religion Day is central to the Baha’i faith, which was founded in Iran in the mid-1800s. Recognizing that major religions around the world share common moral tenets, the Baha’i sought to emphasize similarity over difference. Around the world, followers of Baha’i spread the positive messages of hope and justice through a belief in the oneness of humankind. Celebrating our commonalities is foundational to Baha’i practitioners and a core purpose of World Religion Day. On this day, you’ll find interfaith exchanges as well as lectures and workshops for learning about different religions.

    Today’s Implications

    Faith is a driving cultural force and is often at the center of conflict around the globe. In the U.S., for example, tenets of Christianity have been weaponized to support the oppression of marginalized groups, including women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The purpose of World Religion Day is to fight against those who use faith as a means of promoting intolerance, to celebrate religious differences, and to inspire a more peaceful world achieved through interfaith harmony.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Whether you are devoted to a particular faith or not, World Religion Day welcomes you. This is a time to learn about religions that interest you and discover interfaith commonalities. To start, you can attend a religious ceremony or celebration that is new to you. If you want to learn more about World Religion Day and the unifying principles extoled by many religions, The Baha’i Blog offers articles, videos, and podcasts devoted to the issue.

    Faith is a powerful part of one’s identity, but it is not one’s entire identity. Listen to the Queerly Beloved podcast to explore the intersection of LGBTQ+ and religious identities.

    Visit Barry’s Campus Ministry website for events and dialogues on faith and religion.

    Sources:

    Bahai.us. 2022. Baha’is of the United States. [online] Available at: < https://www.bahai.us/ >

    Nationaltoday.com. 2022. World Religion Day – January 15, 2023. [online] Available at: < https://nationaltoday.com/world-religion-day/ >

  • Today We Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Civil rights warrior and hero Martin Luther King, Jr., was the first private citizen in the United States to be honored by a federal holiday. But the battle for his recognition was hard-fought. Shortly after Dr. King’s assassination, in 1968, his supporter and friend John Conyers, a Democratic congressman from Michigan, lobbied for a federal holiday recognizing the late reverend’s racial-justice work and legacy. That first attempt and many subsequent ones failed. Federal legislation to honor King each third Monday in January—the month of his birth—finally passed in 1983, while the first celebrations of the holiday did not begin until 1986.

    Even after the official designation of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day (MLK Day), racist initiatives threatened to outshine the national celebrations in his honor. Several southern states combined MLK Day with their own holiday celebrating the Confederate General Robert E. Lee, whose birthday also happened to fall in January. It was not until 2000 that all 50 states observed MLK Day.

    Today’s Implications

    For many Americans, King is an emblem of equality and justice; and yet, the racism that has plagued our nation since its founding remains. MLK Day is our reminder that the fight for equality is ongoing. It is also the only federal holiday devoted to service. King work tirelessly for the betterment of society, and his day of remembrance encourages all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    On this day, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through service is a common practice around the country. Visit the AmeriCorps MLK Day resources page for ideas of how you can be of service.

    Commit to Antiracism by continuously working to dismantle systems of oppression in addition to addressing your own biases. Take the Antiracist Style Indicator to determine how effective you are in antiracism work and how to improve. Check out Barry University’s MLK Day of service activities on Engage. Visit TED Talks’ Race collection for videos exploring justice, identity, and equity.

    Sources:

    Americorps.gov. 2022. MLK Day. [online] Available at: < https://americorps.gov/newsroom/events/mlk-day >

    History.com. 2018. The Fight for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. [online] Available at: < https://www.history.com/news/martin-luther-king-jr-day-controversial-origins-of-the-holiday >

  • Celebrate the Lunar New Year

    In Asia and among Asian people around the globe, the Lunar New Year is the most significant and festive holiday of the year. Among the biggest celebrations is Chinese New Year, which is held on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice (December 21). Chinese New Year marks a time of celebration, rest, and family. Its roots stem from a centuries-old agrarian tradition in which farmers would break from their labor to spend time with their loved ones and welcome a new year.

    Today’s Implications

    While celebrations vary, Chinese communities honor the Lunar New Year as a time for ushering out the old and welcoming luck and prosperity anew. In communities around the U.S. outdoor spectacles abound and often feature firecrackers and fireworks. Families gather for banquets and decorate their homes with red for good luck, while children receive money in bright red envelopes. The festivities begin on the eve of the Lunar New Year and continue for two weeks, culminating in the Lantern Festival, which marks the full moon. During this final celebratory festival, people hang paper lanterns throughout their homes and communities.

    It is important to remember that the Lunar New Year is celebrated in countries throughout Asia. In Vietnam, the day is called Tết Nguyên Đán, or Tết, for short, meaning Festival of the First Morning of the First Day. Many Vietnamese people celebrate by cleaning their homes and festooning them with fresh flowers, such as peach blossoms and kumquats. The pink of the peach blossom represents energy and the kumquat represents prosperity. North and South Koreans celebrate Seollal, which lasts for three days and centers a ritual called Charye, through which ancestors are served food in exchange for their blessings for the coming year. In Mongolia, the White Moon Festival brings people together to worship and exchange snuff bottles, which are thought to inspire unity. And these are just a few of the ways people around the globe celebrate the Lunar New Year!

    How to Help Continue the Work

    When honoring the celebrations of cultures, it is important to prevent individual demographics from becoming the sole narrative for many groups. Chinese New Year, for example, is a Chinese celebration of the Lunar New Year, an event celebrated by many Asian and other cultures. Learn about how Lunar New Year is celebrated around Asia to diversify the narrative. Another great resources for information about the Rituals and Legends of the Lunar New Year is Columbia University’s Asia for Educators page.

    Celebrating the Lunar New Year is also a time for celebrating Asian heritage and identity. Watch Carmen Xu’s Ted Talk I am not Your Asian Stereotype through which she shares her experience reconciling her American and Chinese identity and explores how racial bias affects Asian Americans.

     

    Sources:

    Bbc.com. 2022. Chinese New Year: What is it and how is it celebrated? [online] Available at: < https://www.bbc.com/news/world-60153348 >

    Columbia.edu. 2022. The Lunar New Year: Rituals and Legends. [online] Available at: < http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/special/china_general_lunar.htm >

  • January 27 Is International Holocaust Remembrance Day

    Officially recognized by the United Nations in 2005, International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945. The day is reserved for somber remembrance of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism. It is also a time for people of all nations, races, and creeds to learn about and take stock of the cultural and political forces that can help prevent future genocides.

    Today’s Implications

    Holocaust Remembrance Day is a reminder that we share a collective, global responsibility for honoring the sanctity of human rights and facing the atrocities systematically committed by an authoritarian regime. It is our call to educate ourselves on the origins of the Nazi party and the populism that fueled its rise and propelled a democratic state toward dictatorship. Facing this history directly is essential to honoring the victims of Nazi crimes. Every nation bears the responsibility of witnessing and addressing the residual trauma of the Holocaust, as well as for maintaining effective remembrance policies, caring for historical sites, promoting research and education, and documenting the impacts of this genocide.

    Adhering to this mission of Holocaust Remembrance Day is particularly important in our era of rising intolerance. Around Europe and in the U.S., far-right ideologies of xenophobia and religious intolerance have flourished in recent years. This day of remembrance reminds us that we must categorically reject all forms of bigotry, notably Holocaust denial.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Learning about the history of the Holocaust is an important step in preventing events like it from happening in the future. Visit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day for resources, testimonials, and events to honor the day. Commemorate this day by promoting education about the Holocaust. Visit the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust resource to learn how to incorporate the Holocaust into education and educational policy. Visit the World Jewish Congress page to learn how to honor victims of the Holocaust, listen to stories, and join the #WeRemember campaign.

    Jewish Currents is an excellent resource for contemporary news, politics, and cultural criticism that centers the Jewish experience and tracks the rise of the far-right ideology and antisemitism around the globe.

     

    Sources:

    Un.org. 2005. Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly on 1 November 2005. [online] Available at: < https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N05/487/96/PDF/N0548796.pdf?OpenElement >

    Unesco.org. 2022. International Holocaust Remembrance Day. [online] Available at: < https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/holocaustremembranceday >

    Ushmm.org. 2022. International Holocaust Remembrance Day. [online] Available at: < https://www.ushmm.org/remember/international-holocaust-remembrance-day >

February

  • Celebrate Black History

    Since 1976, February has been celebrated as Black History Month, a time for honoring the integral roles African Americans have played in United States history, from politics to culture and more. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also dedicate the month of February to Black history.

    Black History Month stems from the work of historian Carter G. Woodson. In 1915, Woodson and the minister Jesse E. Moorland came together to found the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The organization devotes itself to researching and elevating the stories and achievements of Black Americans, much of which has long been ignored by popular historical accounts. In 1926, the ASALH proposed and sponsored a week dedicated to Black History, selecting the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The week-long event sparked national interest, with communities around the country joining in the educational and celebratory events. By the 1960s, as the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum, college campuses and organizations throughout the U.S. had expanded the honorary week to the full month of February, which President Gerald Ford officially recognized as Black History Month in 1976.

    Today’s Implications

    Honoring Black history is essential to honoring the truth of American history. Unfortunately, not all Americans agree. Recently, the fervent resistance by far-Right politicians and their constituents to recognizing the realities of systemic racism in America is just one example of our national failure to properly honor Black history. A primary catalyst for this divide is the Pulitzer Prize-winning work of journalism The 1619 Project, which interrogates the narratives our history books have long forwarded and shines a light on the integral roles African Americans have played in this country since before its founding. The intense, political response to this important project demonstrates the deep-rooted racism that pains our nation. And yet, it has also galvanized many to fight for honest educational programming around the history of African American life and accomplishment in the U.S., during Black History Month and beyond.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Learn more about Black history and culture through the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Searchable Museum, which offers a variety of virtual exhibitions. Also, tune in to the Black History Year Podcast to learn what is often left out of history books.

    Visit the NAACP’s website to learn more about the issues facing Black communities, the institutional and systemic influences that impact racial disparities, and ways to take action.

    Race only represents one portion of a person’s identity. By listening to the stories of individuals, you can actively work against creating a monolith of what it means to be Black. Listen to The Nod and Still Processing podcasts and watch D-L Stewart’s TED Talk Scenes from a Black Trans Life.

    Institutional and structural racism that disproportionately affects Black people is present in every aspect of society. Visit the Race and Ethnicity portion of the JEDI Resource page on our website for books, videos, toolkits, and other resources to explore the history of racism and what you can do to become anti-racist as an individual and member of your community.

     

    Sources:

    Asalh.org. 2011. Origins of Black History Month. [online] Available at: < https://asalh.org/about-us/origins-of-black-history-month/ >

    Blackhistorymonth.gov. 2022. Black History Month. [online] Available at: < https://blackhistorymonth.gov/ >

    History.com. 2022. Black History Month. [online] Available at: < https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month >

  • February 20 Is World Day of Social Justice

    In 2007, the United Nations (UN) established February 20 as the World Day of Social Justice. The first observation of the day took place in 2009 and, ever since, February 20 marks a time for celebrating social justice advocates and the ongoing global mission to guarantee fair and just societies. The declaration sprang from prior UN assemblies on social development and economic and labor justice in the face of globalization.

    The term “social justice” was commonly used during the Industrial Revolution as a response to the human rights violations experienced by laborers. Since, its meaning has broadened to apply to the myriad ways in which societies may discriminate, including by race, gender, sexual orientation, and class. Recognizing that equity within society—or social justice—is imperative to social and economic development around the globe, the UN designated the World Day of Social Justice to call attention to the fight for equal opportunity for all.

    Today’s Implications

    Many social justice issues impact the world today, including poverty, hunger, gender inequality, racism, and unemployment, just to name a few. As we inhabit an increasingly globalized world, we are better able to identify the ways in which such injustices impact us all—and fight for change! During the World Day of Social Justice, the UN typically spotlights a central theme and rallies educators and justice advocates everywhere to spread awareness, reflect on past and present injustices, and commit to making the world a more equitable place for future generations.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Working toward equity is a key component of social justice and covers every section of life, from health to education to economic opportunity. Visit the JEDI Resource page on our website for books, videos, toolkits and other resources to explore a range of social justice issues and what you can do to advocate as an individual and member of your community. (We encourage you to start with a topic you’re unfamiliar with!) You can also learn how to incorporate social justice conversations in education with the World Day of Social Justice Teaching Resources page.

    Advocate on the state or national level by sending a letter or calling your elected official with your thoughts on recently proposed bills. Visit the American Civil Liberties Union Take Action page for current legislation and other ways to get involved.

    Volunteer at local organizations that put a cause you are passionate about into action. Check out South Florida People of Color, Family Action Network Movement, and these Miami Organizations doing the work for Black Justice to start.

     

    Sources:

    Baker.edu. 2021. What Is the World Day of Social Justice. [online] Available at: < https://www.baker.edu/about/get-to-know-us/blog/what-is-the-world-day-of-social-justice/ >

    Un.org. 2022. World Day of Social Justice 20 February. [online] Available at: < https://www.un.org/en/observances/social-justice-day >

    Un.org. 2007. Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly on 26 November 2007. [online] Available at: < https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N07/464/37/PDF/N0746437.pdf?OpenElement >

    Worlddayofsocialjustice.com. Accessed 2022. History of World Day of Social Justice. [online] Available at: < https://worlddayofsocialjustice.com/history/ >

March

  • Celebrate Gender Equity Awareness Month

    Coinciding with Women’s History Month, March honors the pursuit for gender equity around the globe. This is a time for raising awareness about sexism and trans-phobia and promoting the fundamental rights of people of all genders.

    Today’s Implications

    The UN has long recognized gender equality as essential to global peace, prosperity, and sustainability. And yet, around the globe—including within the U.S.—gender minorities face routine discrimination, higher instances of violence, and a lack of reproductive autonomy. Trans and non-binary people, in particular, experience higher rates of poverty, inadequate healthcare, and employment discrimination; while cis women continue to earn less than their male counterparts on average. And now, within the U.S. and elsewhere, access to abortion is under threat. Gender Equity Awareness Month reminds us to fight against discriminatory laws and societal norms, particularly those that threaten the health and safety of women, trans, and gender non-conforming people around the globe.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Watch Sara Sanford’s TED talk How to design gender bias out of your workplace to start addressing barriers. Women of color experience compounded disenfranchisement. Learn how to lend them workplace support with the Fingerprint for Success toolkit. Read about the Impact of Covid-19 on Women in the Labor Force.

    Watch Roxane Gay’s TED Talk, Confessions of a bad feminist, where she asserts that even small acts of advocacy can lead to big changes. Watch National Geographic’s Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric to learn more about gender identity and the experience of trans individuals.

     

    Sources:

    Ucdavis.edu. 2021. Gender Equity Awareness Month. [online] Available at: < https://wrrc.ucdavis.edu/programs/awareness/gender-equity-awareness-month >

    Un.org. Accessed 2022. Sustainable Development Goals. [online] Available at: < https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/ >

  • Celebrate Women’s History Month

    March marks Women’s History Month, a federally recognized time for honoring the many generations of women who have shaped our nation. The celebration originated in 1981, with a Congressional recommendation to honor “Women’s History Week.” By 1987, thanks to petitions by the National Women’s History Project, Congress extended the celebration to the full month of March.

    Today’s Implications

    As recently as the 1970s, the contributions of women to our nation’s history were largely absent from K-12 educational curricula and public discourse. An educational committee out of Sonoma County, California, was among the first to lobby for a celebration of women’s history, and the movement quickly gained momentum and spread throughout the U.S.

    Today, recognizing women’s history as fundamental to the study of American history has become the standard among educational institutions. And yet, the historical narratives most often spotlighted in textbooks and popular media are those of white, cis women. Women’s History Month reminds us that elevating the stories and contributions of ALL women-identified and non-binary people is essential to an accurate understanding of the country’s history.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Visit the University of Massachusetts Amherst Women’s History Month page for suggested readings and podcasts to learn more about influential women in history. Learn more about women’s experiences and influences on history at the Library of Congress Women’s History Month page.

     

    Sources:

    Nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org. 2021. Why March is National Women’s History Month. [online] Available at: < https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/womens-history-month/womens-history-month-history/ >

    Whitehouse.gov. 2022. A Proclamation on Women’s History Month, 2022. [online] Available at: < https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/02/28/a-proclamation-on-womens-history-month-2022/ >

  • March 21 Is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

    Initiated by the United Nations in 1979, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is recognized annually on March 21. The date is both somber and historically significant, as it marks the anniversary of police brutality against peaceful protesters of apartheid. On March 21, 1960, demonstrators gathered in the Black township of Sharpeville, South Africa, to protest the discriminatory and oppressive laws of apartheid. Police opened fire on these demonstrators, killing 69 people.

    The institutionalized racial segregation of apartheid was repealed in South Africa in the early 1990s; and racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries. Nevertheless, the systemic social and economic impact of institutional racism remain. For example, within the U.S. alone—which saw the legal end of racial segregation in the 1950s and 60s—African American citizens face higher rates of poverty, poorer health outcomes, and greater rates of incarceration than any other racial group.

    Today’s Implications 

    Following the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, adopted in 1965, the UN has continued to spotlight and combat racism around the globe. And yet, the fight is far from over. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reminds us to speak out against intolerance and listen to our BIPOC community members. The UN typically marks this day with a special theme, allowing you to participate globally via social media as well as through grassroots activism within your local community.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Commemorate this day by learning about the victims of the Sharpeville Massacre and listening to the stories of survivors. Educators can learn how to create an environment of acceptance and celebration of cultural diversity through the UN Educators #Fight Racism toolkit.

    Doing Antiracism work means continuously working to dismantle systems of oppression, in addition to addressing your own biases. Take the Harvard Implicit Bias Test to examine your personal biases. Take the Antiracist Style Indicator to determine how effective you are in antiracism work and how to improve.

     

    Sources:

    Naacp.org. 2022. Criminal Justice Fact Sheet. [online] Available at: < https://naacp.org/resources/criminal-justice-fact-sheet >

    Naacp.org. 2022. Health and Well-being. [online] Available at: < https://naacp.org/issues/health-wellbeing >

    Un.org. 2022. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 21 March. [online] Available at: < https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-racism-day >

  • Celebrate Equal Pay Day

    Initiated in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), Equal Pay Day calls attention to the gender wage gap that exists in the United States. Traditionally marked on a Tuesday in April, the day represents how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. The earlier Equal Pay Day arrives, the closer we have come to closing the gender wage gap.

    Today’s Implications

    Census Bureau data from 2020 shows that, on average, women earn 83 cents for ever dollar earned by men. Among women of color and disabled women, the wage gap is even greater. Black women, for instance, earned just 63 cents for every dollar earned by white men in 2019. According to a 2022 statement by President Joe Biden, disabled women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by disabled men.

    In 2022, to recognize the myriad impacts of pay inequity on marginalized women, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a nonprofit organization fighting for gender equity, calculated Equal Pay Days to reflect wage disparities among various racial and ethnic groups. Native Women’s Equal Pay Day, for example, fell on November 30, reflecting the 50 cents these women are paid for every dollar earned by a white man. You can find the full 2022 breakdown at the AAUW website.

    Over the course of a woman’s career, the persistent pay gap within this country can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost earnings—particularly among women of color—and impact retirement savings. Single-mother households also face the unique burden of unequal pay and inadequate access to affordable childcare. For as long as these issues remain, Equal Pay Day is our reminder of how far we need to go to reach gender equality in this country.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Visit the U.S. Census Bureau’s interactive Gender Pay Gap Map to see the wage gap in your state. Celebrate Equal Pay Day in the workplace with tips, activities, and resources from the National Committee on Pay Equity. Learn more about the gender pay gap and its impacts through the American Association of University Women.

     

    Sources:

    Aauw.org. 2022. Equal Pay Day Calendar. [online] Available at: < https://www.aauw.org/resources/article/equal-pay-day-calendar/ >

    Census.gov. 2022. Equal Pay Day: March 15, 2022. [online] Available at: < https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/equal-pay-day.html >

    Pay-equity.org. 2022. National Committee on Pay Equity. [online] Available at: < https://www.pay-equity.org/day.html >

    Whitehouse.gov. 2022. A Proclamation on National Equal Pay Day, 2022. [online] Available at: < https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/03/14/a-proclamation-on-national-equal-pay-day-2022/ >

  • March 8 Is International Women’s Day

    International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women-identified people. It is a time for recognizing successes as well as the continued fight for gender equity.

    While International Women’s Day earned global recognition by the United Nations in 1977, it originated much earlier. In 1909, the first National Women’s Day was organized in the U.S. to honor the New York City garment workers who had protested labor conditions the year before. In the years that followed, women laborers in Europe continued to fight for fair working conditions, establishing Women’s Days in more countries.

    Today’s Implications

    With global recognition, International Women’s Day has evolved to consider issues facing women in both developed and developing nations. Understanding the ways that gender inequity impacts all aspects of society is crucial to eradicating the problem and sparking meaningful change, even where you might not expect it. For example, did you know that gender inequality has significant links to the climate crisis? Because women constitute the majority of the world’s poor, they are more dependent on natural resources and more susceptible to climate disaster. And yet, this vulnerability to climate change also makes women and girls powerful voices in our fight for a healthier planet. International Women’s Day is our reminder that gender parity is critical to achieving a sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Watch Ashley Judd’s TED Talk How online abuse of women has spiraled out of control  to hear the importance of advocacy around online harassment of women. (Warning, this video contains explicit and graphic content.) Check out Radical Feminist Solidarities, a BIPOC and women-centered reading list compiled by Black Women Radicals and the Asian American Feminist Collective. Visit the International Women’s Day resource page for ways to plan a celebration and get involved. Listen to women’s experiences from around the world at the United Nations International Women’s Day Stories page.

     

    Sources:

    Internationalwomensday.com. 2022. International Women’s Day. [online] Available at: < https://www.internationalwomensday.com/ >

    Un.org. 2022. Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. [online] Available at: < https://www.un.org/en/observances/womens-day >

    Un.org. 2022. History of Women’s Day. [online] Available at: < https://www.un.org/en/observances/womens-day/background >

April

  • The U.S. is home to roughly 3.7 million citizens who represent the cultural diversity of the world’s 22 Arab nations, and April is officially a month for honoring them!

    National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) was established in 2019 by a congressional resolution put forth by Michigan representatives Debbie Dingell and Rashida Tlaib. The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib said of this hard-fought designation, “It is my hope as a strong and proud Arab American in Congress that our nation can uplift our contributions in the United States by supporting Arab American Heritage Month.” Another avid supporter of the resolution, Representative Donna Shalala (D-FL), who is of Lebanese descent, emphasized the significance of recognizing the contributions, history, and culture of our Arab American citizens. “In medicine, law, business, technology, civic engagement, government, and culture, Arab Americans have been, and continue to be, an invaluable part of the mosaic of American life,” Shalala said.

    Today’s Implications

    The need for a month-long spotlight on such contributions cannot be understated. Arab Americans remain a routinely misunderstood and marginalized group within the U.S. Among student populations alone, Arab Americans statistically face cultural insensitivities and pronounced xenophobia. Coupled with a lack of on-campus counseling resources that are attuned to the diverse cultural, political, and religious concerns these students face, daily discrimination can be difficult to overcome and lead to longtime psychological and academic struggles.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    The first step to honoring National Arab American Heritage Month is understanding Arab American heritage! It may sound simple, but many of us are unfamiliar with the history and culture of this diverse group. For example, it is common to conflate “Middle Eastern” with “Arab.” In actuality, Arab American refers to individuals who have ancestry in one of the world’s 22 Arab nations, all of which share a common linguistic and cultural heritage. Many of these nations are located in the geographic region known as the Middle East, though some—Morocco, Egypt, Algeria—are not. Likewise, some Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, Israel, and Turkey, are not Arabic nations. Learning and using the correct terminology for our Arab American community members is crucial.

    We can also celebrate NAAHM by listening to the stories of Arab Americans and sharing their accomplishments with others. An excellent place to start is the Emmy Award-winning documentary series Arab American Stories. Presented by Detroit Public Television, the series showcases the diversity of experiences and themes that face Arab Americans. You can also visit the Arab American National Museum for an in-depth look at this vibrant community.


    Lastly, many scholarships, fellowships, and internships exist specifically for Arab American students and young professionals. provides a helpful guide to these programs.

     

    Sources:

    Insightintodiversity.com. 2021. National Arab Heritage Month. [online] Available at: <https://www.insightintodiversity.com/national-arab-american-heritage-month/>

    Arabamerica.com. 2022. Arab America. [online] Available at: <https://www.arabamerica.com/>

May

  • May Celebrates Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage

    A celebration of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress in 1978. This time for honoring the myriad contributions of AAPI people to American culture and industry began as a week-long observance tied to two significant anniversaries: the immigration of the first Japanese people to the U.S., on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad by a majority Chinese-immigrant labor force, on May 10, 1869. Congress expanded the celebration to the full month of May in 1990.

    While the May commemoration began with a primary focus on Japanese and Chinese Americans—communities that suffered early and systemized racism and violence in the U.S.—Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month encompasses a wide range of cultures and countries, including all of the Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.  

     

    Today’s Implications

    Covid-19 amplified and brought to light the intense racial discrimination and violence experienced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Members of this broad and diverse community have long been lumped together in the white American consciousness and subjected to harmful stereotypes. During Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, advocates for justice around the country take time to recognize the historic and current struggles among AAPI people, honor their strength, and celebrate their enduring contributions to our country.

     

    How to Help Continue the Work

     Understanding the breadth of diversity within the AAPI community and the various ways AAPI cultures influence daily life in the U.S. is a great first step to honoring them. It is also important to continue learning about historical and present oppression AAPI people face and actively work to correct these injustices. Asian Americans Advancing Justice is devoted to amplifying the voices and experiences of AAPI people. Through this site, you can read true stories of injustice and learn what you can do as a bystander when witnessing hate. The Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit is a collection of resources developed by AAPI grassroots organizations that can help jumpstart your advocacy.

    Celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in your classrooms, programs, or personal projects by incorporating AAPI voices in your lesson plans, activities, and reading choices. You’ll find a variety of educational resources—as well as cultural exhibitions, recorded lectures, and panel discussions—on the official Asian/Pacific American Heritage website. You may also explore the many resources available through Barry University’s Anti-Racism and Equity Coalition.

     

    Sources:

    Asianpacificheritage.gov. 2022. Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. [online] Available at: <https://asianpacificheritage.gov/>

    Standingagainsthatred.org. 2021. Asian Americans Advancing Justice. [online] Available at: < https://www.standagainsthatred.org/ >

    Apalanet.org. Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit. [online] Available at: < https://www.apalanet.org/uploads/8/3/2/0/83203568/asian_american_racial_justice_toolkit.pdf >

  • Explore Haitian Heritage in May

    May is a festive time in Haiti, so it is fitting that we honor Haitian contributions to the U.S. during this month. Though it began in Boston, in 1998, Haitian Heritage Month is now recognized throughout the country with parades, flag raisings, and cultural events. The month-long celebration is an expansion of Haitian Flag Day, on May 18, the anniversary of the 1803 creation of the Haitian flag, under which Haiti fought and dispelled the French army and became the first Black independent country.

    Though May is nearly synonymous with patriotism in Haiti, the month is also tied to rich cultural traditions. Notably, Mothers’ Day is celebrated in Haiti on the last Sunday of May and coincides with great religious ceremonies honoring the Virgin Mary. Labor and Agricultural Day, a spirited celebration of artisans and workers, is traditionally held on May 1; and May 20 marks the birthday of General Toussaint Louverture, who helped lead the Haitian Slave Revolution of 1791 against the powerful armies of Spain, Great Britain, and France.

     

    Today’s Implications

    While cities and states throughout the U.S. celebrate Haitian Heritage Month, Florida is home to the greatest number of events and festivities. Palm Beach County’s Haitian community began their month-long commemoration in 2001 and has since helped take the celebration state-wide. Across Florida, schools, libraries, and community centers offer educational programs about Haiti, and local governments support festivals that showcase the distinctive art, delicious food, and rich cultural traditions that spark pride in so many Haitian Americans.

     

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Miami’s Haitian Heritage Museum is a destination for Haitian art, history, and culture. Here you’ll find work by artists in Haiti and the diaspora, as well as a variety of events and exhibitions (many of which are available online!) designed to immerse visitors in the triumphs and struggles of the Haitian people. The Museum also produces the Haitian Arts Podcast Series (HAPS), which you can listen to through Apple or Spotify.

    During the month of May, check out the myriad events offered in your state or city. Miami, for example, hosts a range of musical, artistic, culinary, and educational events designed to raise awareness, strengthen the self-esteem and ethnic pride of Haitians and Haitian American youth, and honor Haitian achievements in the U.S. and around the world. Teachers and program directors can extend this work in their classrooms with Palm Beach County School District’s Celebrating Haitian Heritage Booklet, which offers lesson plan ideas, activities, and a context of Haitian heritage in the education system.

    Understand U.S.–Haitian policy and the struggles facing the Haitian people. Haiti Advocacy Working Group provides a range of resources about such challenges as healthcare, climate, poverty, and democracy in Haiti.

     

    Sources:

    Haitianheritagemuseum.org. 2022. Haitian Heritage Musum. [online] Available at: < http://www.haitianheritagemuseum.org/ >

    Lefloridien.com. 2021. The 21st Edition of Haitian Heritage Celebration in Maimi-Dade County. [online] Available at: < https://www.lefloridien.com/may-2021-the-21st-edition-of-haitian-heritage-celebration-in-miami-dade-county/ >

    Sharpschool.com. 2005. Celebrating Haitian Heritage: A Teacher’s Resource Guide. [online] Available at: < https://p14cdn4static.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_270532/File/News/Whats%20New/2021/CelebratingHaitianHeritageBooklet.pdf >

    Haitiadvocacy.org. 2022. Haiti Advocacy Working Group. [online] Available at: < https://haitiadvocacy.org/ >

  • May 21: A Day for Championing Cultural Diversity

    Since 2002, the United Nations has recognized May 21 as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Intended to deepen our global appreciation for the role cultural diversity plays in our political, economic, and social well-being, Cultural Diversity Day is a time for discourse and commitment to action. Specifically, the day aims to advance the four goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted on October 20, 2005:

    • Support sustainable systems of governance for culture
    • Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase mobility of artists and cultural professionals
    • Integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks
    • Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms

    The link between culture and sustainable development has been particularly significant to Cultural Diversity Day since a 2015 UN resolution that pledged to shine a much-needed light on the importance of protecting our natural resources and recognizing their contributions to the myriad ways of life around the world.

    Today’s Implications

    Peace, stability, and development flourish when cultural diversity is recognized and celebrated. According to the UN, 75% of the world’s major conflicts involve a cultural dimension. When cultural diversity is championed, conflict diminishes, opportunities open, poverty rates decline, economies grow, and individuals enjoy more freedom to lead intellectually, emotionally, morally, and spiritually fulfilling lives. Thanks to technological innovations within media and communication systems, we are more equipped than ever to engage in meaningful dialogues that promote awareness among varying cultures and civilizations and encourage mutual respect and understanding.

    While we are more connected than ever, Covid-19 has hampered our abilities to congregate in person at cultural events, destinations, and institutions. UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which serve the great purpose of connecting visitors to world history, have been long empty and under threat of looting. Protected natural preserves and parks have been at risk for destruction and poaching. The global cultural and tourism industry contributes roughly $2.25 billion to the economy and accounts for 29.5 million jobs worldwide. As pandemic challenges lesson, it is crucial to address its economic impact on our cultural institutions.

    How to Help Continue the Work

     

    Expanding your knowledge of another culture is a great way to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Visit a local museum dedicated to the history of your region, learn about the native inhabitants of the land you live and work on, or take part in a cultural event that is new for you. You can also check out the UN’s guide for last year’s Cultural Diversity Day, which offers Ten Simple Things YOU Can do to Celebrate. To further understand the impact of Covid-19 on cultural sites, listen to real stories told by UNESCO World Heritage employees.

    Learn how to navigate conversations that may be difficult surrounding culture and identity. The University of Southern California’s School of Social Work offers a Diversity Toolkit: A guide to Discussing Identity, Power, and Privilege as a starting point for these conversations. National Day of Racial Healing also offers a conversation guide, Talking about Racism, Racial Equity and Racial Healing with Friends, Family, Colleagues and Neighbors.

     

    Sources:

    Un.org. 2022. World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, 21 May. [online] Available at: < https://www.un.org/en/observances/cultural-diversity-day >

    Whc.unesco.org. 2022. Site managers report on Covid-19. [online] Available at: < https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/2101/ >

    Msw.usc.edu. 2020. Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege. [online] Available at: < https://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/diversity-workshop-guide-to-discussing-identity-power-and-privilege/ >

    Healourcommunities.org. 2021. Talking about Racism, Racial Equity and Racial Healing with Friends, Family, Colleagues and Neighbors. [online] Available at: < https://healourcommunities.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Conversation-Guide.pdf >

June

  • Celebrate Caribbean Heritage This June

    Since its inception, the United States has shared a deep, complex, and at times fraught relationship with the Caribbean islands. In fact, one of our country’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, hailed from the island of Nevis. Since then, countless other Caribbean and Caribbean American people have left their mark on art, music, literature, food, activism, and policy in the U.S., including the writers W.E.B. Dubois and James Weldon Johnson, singer and activist Harry Belafonte, actors Cicely Tyson and Sidney Poitier, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm, and musician and fashion designer Rihanna—just to name a few!

    To honor the great cultural and political contributions of Caribbean immigrants and their ancestors to the U.S., June is officially recognized as Caribbean American Heritage Month. Proposed in 1999 by the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), this celebratory month earned national recognition in 2006, when an official resolution put forth by ICS Founder Dr. Claire Nelson and California Congresswoman Barbara Lee passed with bipartisan support.

    Today’s Implications

    According to the ICS, Caribbean American Heritage Month aims “to ensure that America is reminded that greatness lies in its diversity.” Not only are the Caribbean islands home to vast cultural and linguistic variety, the impact of Caribbean people in the U.S. is diverse and widespread. Caribbean food, for example, fuses aspects of African, Creole, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisine. While Caribbean American communities thrive throughout the U.S., New York, Florida, Georgia, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Texas, and California boast the highest populations. In these states and beyond, you’ll find celebrations throughout the month of June.

    How to Help Continue the Work 

    Reading work by Caribbean authors (and integrating it into your classroom) is an excellent way to celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month. Book of Cinz, a resource devoted to Caribbean authors and developed by Jamaican book lover Cindy Allman, launched #ReadCaribbean to coincide with Caribbean American Heritage Month and routinely spotlights new books you’ll want on your shelves. You can also learn about the experiences of Caribbean women through the Writing Home Podcast, which features conversations with feminist Caribbean authors.

    Attending a Caribbean American Heritage Month celebration in your community is also a great way to honor the cultural contributions of Caribbean Americans. Visit Caribbean American Heritage Month USA to see upcoming virtual and in-person celebrations; or check out Florida International University’s Latin American and Caribbean Center, which offers a range of fun and educational events.

     

    Sources:

    Caribbeanamericanmonth.com. 2022. Caribbean American Heritage Month. [online] Available at: < https://caribbeanamericanmonth.com/ >

    Census.gov. 2021. National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. [online] Available at: < https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/caribbean-american-heritage-month.html >

    Doi.gov. U.S. Department of the Interior: Caribbean American Heritage Month. [online] Available at: < https://doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/national-caribbean-american-heritage-month-infographic.pdf >

    Icsdc.org. 2021. Institue of Caribbean Studies [online] Available at: < https://www.icsdc.org/caribbean_american_heritage_month >

  • Commemorate the End of Slavery on Juneteenth

    June 19—known as Juneteenth National Independence Day and Emancipation Day—is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. And, as of 2021, it is officially a federal holiday!

    Juneteenth marks the anniversary of Major General Gordan Granger’s arrival in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, to announce that the Civil War had ended and enforce the emancipation of all who were enslaved. With this news, Texas became the last state in Confederacy to end slavery, more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and several months after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

    Despite the significance of Juneteenth to U.S. history and the ongoing story of Black liberation, it was not officially recognized until 1980, when Texas declared it a state holiday. Since then, states around the country have followed suit; and, in 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill establishing Juneteenth National Independence Day as an official federal holiday, the first to be approved since Martin Luther King, Jr., Day in 1983.

    Today’s Implications

    While Juneteenth has been celebrated by Black Americans and allies since 1865, its recent national recognition is an opportunity for all Americans to truthfully acknowledge how slavery shaped our nation and contributed to widespread systemic oppression that continues to impact our society today. Across the country, Juneteenth is a day for educating ourselves, celebrating freedom, recognizing loudly and emphatically that Black Lives Matter, and honoring the ways in which Black people and culture have contributed to all aspects of American life.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Learn about the history of Juneteenth. There are countless resources devoted to telling the story of this national holiday and why it should matter to every American. The video “Why all Americans should honor Juneteenth” is an excellent introduction for those unfamiliar with the history.

    Put your money where your mouth is! Support Black-owned businesses, seek out books and entertainment by Black authors and creators, and donate to Black-led justice organizations. See Culture Crusader’s list of Miami Organizations doing the Work for Black Justice for ideas of local organizations to get involved with.

    While Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in our country, there are many systems that perpetuate racial disparities in the United States, including the criminal justice system. Watch 13th, Ava DuVernay’s powerful documentary examining the evolution from slavery to modern-day imprisonment in the American criminal justice system. The film is free for all to watch on YouTube and is essential viewing for all working toward racial justice in our country.

     

    Sources:

    Cnn.com. 2021. Juneteenth becomes a federal holiday. [online] Available at: < https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/biden-signs-juneteenth-bill/index.html >

    Human Rights Campaign. 2021. The Juneteenth Edition Newsletter. [online] Available at: < https://hrc-prod-requests.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/DEI-eZine-June-2021-Juneteenth.pdf?mtime=20210608101227&focal=none >

    Juneteenth.com. 2022. Juneteenth.com. [online] Available at: < https://www.juneteenth.com/ >

  • July Spotlights Disability Pride

    July commemorates a moment of seismic and much-needed change in the U.S., and it’s worth celebrating! On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, guaranteeing legal protections against discrimination and equal opportunities for disabled people. It was a hard-fought step along our nation’s journey to secure every citizen’s civil liberties. The same month the bill was passed, Boston held the first-ever Disability Pride Day. Since then, cities around the U.S. have celebrated the full month of July as Disability Pride Month, which AmeriDisability describes as a time to “promote visibility and mainstream awareness of the positive pride felt by people with disabilities.” Across the nation, you’ll find parades and events geared toward ending the stigma of disability and honoring the myriad individuals with disabilities who influence our communities in vibrant ways. 

    Today’s Implications

    The disabled community is widespread and diverse. It comprises people of all ages, all races and ethnicities, and all gender and sexual identities. Even the term disability refers to a broad range of diagnoses, from physical and mental disabilities to chronic illnesses. Additionally, the way members of the community think of their disability in relation to themselves can differ. For some, disability is more than a diagnosis. It is an important aspect of identity that deserves recognition. These community members may prefer identity-first language, such as “disabled person.” For others, disability is secondary to core identity. It is something a person has rather than who a person is. These community members may prefer person-first language, such as “person with a disability.” (More tips on disability language can be found here.)

    Prior to the ADA, disabled Americans were often relegated to their homes because the outside world was not made with them in mind. A trip to the grocery store, the movie theater, or even a public park could be impossible because accessibility accommodations were not enforced in businesses or community spaces. The ADA made accessibility a priority and a legal imperative, but that doesn’t mean that accommodations are always thoughtfully implemented. From the lack of maintenance on accessible doors and ramps to a lack of assistive technology in educational or public settings, the needs of disabled people are often unfulfilled.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Disability pride is about making the disabled community visible. If you are not a member of the disability community, take time to listen and learn from the experiences of others. The Disability Visibility Project offers podcasts, interviews, book recommendations, and oral histories spotlighting the voices of people with disabilities. You can also learn about the individual impact of the ADA through the NPR feature, “In Their Own Words: How the Americans with Disabilities Act Changed People’s Lives.”

    Learning to talk about disability is critical to engaging with members of the community and showing them that they are seen. As mentioned above, how people prefer to speak about their disabilities can vary, so it’s important to listen and adhere to individual preferences. The HIE Help Center offers an excellent guide to the language around disability as well as tips for recognizing pejorative terms so you can eliminate them from your vocabulary.

    Finally, it’s important that non-disabled people advocate for accessibility in the spaces they share. Is your classroom or workplace easily navigated by someone with a physical disability? Are resources and accommodations easily accessible, or would someone have to go searching for them? By recognizing the barriers people with disabilities face, we can learn how to best support an environment that is inclusive and accessible to all.

     

    Sources:

    Ada.gov. 2022. Information and Technical Assistants on the Americans with Disabilities Act. [online] Available at: < https://www.ada.gov/ >

    Ameridisability.com. 2019. What Is Disability Pride . . . And How to Display It. [online] Available at: < https://www.ameridisability.com/how-to-display-disability-pride/ >

    Dcrc.co. 2022. Disability Community Resource Center. [online] Available at: < https://www.dcrc.co/ >

    Heihelpcenter.org. 2017. Disability Terminology: Choosing the Right Words When Talking About Disability. [online] Available at: < https://hiehelpcenter.org/2018/09/25/disability-terminology-choosing-right-words-talking-disability/ >

    Southwestada.org. 2015. The Impact of the ADA in American Communities. [online] Available at: < http://southwestada.org/html/publications/general/20150715%20ADA%20Impact%20Narrative%20(Rev-Final%20v2).pdf >

    Verywellmind.com. 2021. Understanding Disability Pride Month. [online] Available at: < https://www.verywellmind.com/understanding-disability-pride-month-5193069 >

July

  • July Is BIPOC Mental Health Month

    Named for the American author, journalist, teacher, and mental-health advocate, Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Monthalso known as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Month—was formally recognized by Congress in 2008. Since then, July has been a month for honoring the unique mental health challenges and needs facing historically disenfranchised and oppressed racial and ethnic communities in the United States.

    While mental health issues affect one in four U.S. households, members of the BIPOC community encounter specific barriers to mental wellness. The historic and individual trauma of systemic discrimination and racism, for example, looms large in BIPOC communities and alone can lead to mental health challenges. BIPOC Mental Health Month is about recognizing the need for American mental health services and systems to not only reflect the diverse communities they serve but to also provide culturally competent care.

    Today’s Implications

    On a daily basis, BIPOC community members encounter subtle (and not so subtle) discrimination. Whether in the form of overt racism or microaggressions—a lack of representation in learning materials at school, for example—experiences of marginalization play a large role in shaping a person’s identity and worldview. Additionally, BIPOC communities may carry preconceived notions about mental health or skepticism around mental health services. From diagnosis to ongoing treatment and care, all of these cultural elements deserve to be seen, honored, and understood by mental-health providers.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Learn about mental health disparities for underrepresented groups at Mental Health America’s BIPOC Mental Health Month page. Work to understand how views of mental health can differ based on identity as well as the role culture plays in an individual’s comfortability to seek mental health care. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers an Identity and Cultural Dimensions page that explores various culturally specific experiences of mental health, including a section titled “How You Can Promote a Culture of Equity and Inclusion” as an advocate and as a mental health provider. 

    For those whose fight for racial justice every day, maintaining mental wellness can be a challenge. Online Counseling Program offers mental health resources and strategies for those engaged in racial justice work. 

    If you or someone you know is seeking culturally competent mental health care, Live Another Day provides a curated list of trusted providers that can reliably serve BIPOC clients.

     

    Sources:

    Congress.gov. 2008. H.Con.Res.134 - Expressing the sense of the Congress that there should be established a Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to enhance public awareness of mental illness, especially within minority communities. [online] Available at: < https://www.congress.gov/bill/110th-congress/house-concurrent-resolution/134/text >

    Mhanational.org. 2021. BIPOC Mental Health Month. [online] Available at: < https://mhanational.org/BIPOC-mental-health-month >

    Nami.org. 2022. Identity and Cultural Dimensions. [online] Available at: < https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions >

  • July 30 — Speak Out Against Human Trafficking!

    Recognized by the United Nations as World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, July 30 is a day for learning and raising awareness about human trafficking around the world. For nearly two decades, the UN has collected data on the prevalence of trafficking and spearheaded initiatives to support the victims and combat and punish the perpetrators of these crimes.

    Almost every country in the world can be linked to trafficking, whether as a point of origin, transit, or destination for victims. World Day Against Trafficking in Persons was established in 2013 as part of the UN’s ongoing and multifaceted effort to end human trafficking. Each year brings a new theme to the day’s commemoration, with recent years spotlighting survivor stories and the significant roles survivors play in the global fight against trafficking.

    Today’s Implications

    Human trafficking is the exploitation of people for profit, whether for labor, sex, or other form of forced servitude such as the conscription of children into militias. It is a criminal violation of human rights that impacts men, women, and children around the globe, though 70% of trafficking victims are women and girls. Migrants are particularly vulnerable to traffickers, who often use fraudulent tactics, coercion, or force to exploit those fleeing their country of origin. War and conflict exacerbates incidents of trafficking.

    In the wake of Covid-19, trafficking dangers increased globally. More people turned to online interaction, opening new avenues for traffickers to exploit. Additionally, job loss amid the pandemic has elevated primary trafficking risk factors such as poverty, mental health and substance abuse issues, and isolation.  

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Seek out reliable information about human trafficking. Unfortunately, the subject of trafficking and particularly the exploitation of children has become mired in politically motivated conspiracy theories, particularly in the U.S. This has led to misunderstandings about the realities of human trafficking. There are many trusted organizations fighting against human trafficking, including the United Nations and, within the U.S., the Department of Health & Human Services and the Polaris Project. These organizations provide data-backed information about trafficking and prominently dispel the most common myths about this crime. They also offer tangible ways to join the fight against trafficking.

    Learn about the experiences of those who have been trafficked. Read the stories of survivors highlighted by the United Nations. Take Polaris Project’s free introductory course Human Trafficking 101 to learn how to recognize human trafficking and help stop it. 

     

    Sources:

    Polarisproject.org. 2022. Combating Misinformation: Understanding Human Trafficking. [online] Available at: < https://polarisproject.org/ >

    Un.org. 2021. World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 30 July. [online] Available at: < https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-human-trafficking-day >

    Undocs.org. 2014. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 18 December 2013. [online] Available at: < https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N13/450/97/PDF/N1345097.pdf?OpenElement >

    Unodc.org. 2020. World Day Against Trafficking in Persons Statements. [online] Available at: < https://www.unodc.org/endht/en/statements.html >

August

  • August 9: Indigenous People's Day

    Learn about a global day that celebrates the cultural import of Indigenous populations and raises awareness about injustices facing these communities.

    Every August 9, since 1994, the United Nations General Assembly celebrates International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This day of tribute recognizes the great cultural and ecological contributions of Indigenous communities around the globe, and it raises awareness about long histories of injustice and inequality faced by these populations.

    More than 476 million Indigenous people live in 90 countries around the world, accounting for roughly 6.2 percent of the global population. In the United States alone, there are 574 federally recognized American Indian and Alaskan Native communities, each with its own unique heritage, culture, worldview, and relationship to natural resources. While some of these Indigenous groups continue to occupy what remains of their original land base, many others live in territories created by the federal government after their forcible relocation. Such histories of displacement and violence are ubiquitous among global Indigenous peoples, and their communities continue to suffer systemic injustices in the modern world. Government control over land and resources, discrimination, inadequate access to education and health care, financial instability, and, in many cases, extreme poverty are persistent barriers facing Indigenous people around the globe. In the past year, Covid-19 has only exacerbated these inequities and illuminated an urgent need for a worldwide commitment to a new social contract that preserves and uplifts Indigenous people.

    That is why the theme for the 2021 International Day of Indigenous Peoples is “Leaving No One Behind: Indigenous Peoples and the Call for a New Social Contract.” On August 9, Barry University’s Anti-Racism and Equity Coalition joins the United Nations and countless others around the world in calling for a reimagined, cooperative, and actionable social contract that prioritizes equality and respect for Indigenous people.

    What is a social contract?

    Societies operate through both written and unwritten rules. These unwritten rules are known in political philosophy as social contracts. In everyday life, you probably adhere to many social contracts, such as raising your hand in class to signal that you’d like to speak or waiting in line to order from your favorite take-out restaurant. In a broader context, social contracts enable societies to work toward mutual social and economic benefits. Many Indigenous communities are exemplars of such peaceful and productive living; and yet, these same communities have been largely left out of our global social contract, unable to take part in key decision-making processes or share their insights on a worldwide stage.

    In countries where colonialism drove Indigenous people from their lands and resources, where Native languages and ways of life were disparaged and belittled, and where entire communities were barred from political and economic activities, the social contract excluded Indigenous populations from the start. Various societies have worked to address this history of marginalization, advocating for truth and reconciliation efforts, as well as legislative reforms. Such efforts—including the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—have helped pave the way for a new future of widespread systemic change through a collectively envisioned social contract.

    How can you help?

    • Learn more about Indigenous experiences from people themselves.
      • Celebrate this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by learning more about the unique experiences, traditions, and cultures of various communities. Get started with this collection of free videos.

    • Examine cultural appropriation practices and refrain from them.
      • As we think about issues of equity facing Indigenous people in the United States and beyond, recognizing the pervasiveness of appropriated, culturally significant images, practices, and names is critical. The documentary film More Than a Word explores the historical context of Native American cultural appropriation by analyzing the world of competitive athletics and the use of mascots, specifically by Washington’s football team. You can view this powerful documentary via Barry’s Library Access to Kanopy’s streaming platform.

    • Learn more about the issues facing Indigenous people around the globe.
      • The UN offers further reading about inequities facing individual groups of Indigenous people as well as broader statistics.

    • Advocate for change in academic institutions.
  • August 26 Is Women’s Equality Day

    In 1973, at the urging of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day, a time for commemorating the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. It was a hard-fought victory that had originated more than 70 years earlier, in 1848, at the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. While several states—including California, Illinois, Wyoming, and New York—recognized women’s suffrage prior to 1920, the certification of the 19th Amendment extended the right to all women, making women’s suffrage the law of the land . . . at least on paper.

    In spite of its progressive implications, the 19th Amendment was no guarantee that women could vote free from harassment and intimidation. Overwhelmingly, Black women confronted the most significant hurdles, facing racist threats at the polls and newly imposed criteria—including literacy tests and poll taxes—designed to disenfranchise Black voters. Much of this intimidation occurred in the South, where Jim Crow laws effectively barred Black people from the polls. In response, Black women coordinated training sessions that prepared them to register to vote, pay poll taxes, and pass literacy tests administered by officials motivated by racist agendas. It took the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited discrimination against Black voters, to enable a representative population of Black southerners to vote free from threat.

    Today’s Implications

    Just like the 15th Amendment prohibits states from denying voting rights based on race, the 19th Amendment continues to prevent states from denying voting rights based on sex. And yet, it is important to recognize that many American women—particularly women of color—still struggle to exercise their rights. Strict voter ID laws, the strategic elimination of polling places from traditionally non-white districts, and restrictions on voting by mail all impact communities of color and the women (and men) who deserve to cast their votes and make their voices heard.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Educate yourself on your state’s voting laws. In Republican-controlled states, a wave of new voter restrictions have emerged and been upheld by the Supreme Court, effectively hobbling the protections gained through the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Align yourself with leaders in your district and state that take voting rights seriously, and hold them accountable.

    While Women’s Equality Day commemorates a victory for women’s suffrage, equality is about so much more! Support women-led businesses, organize around a women’s issue that matters to you, and donate your time or resources to groups promoting equality. It is also important to advocate for inclusion, recognizing the limitations of the gender binary. Terms like Women+ may be helpful to including nonbinary and trans people in a discussion they may have felt ostracized from before.

    Sources:

    Bustle.com. 2021. 9 Ways to Celebrate Women’s Equality Day. [online] Available at: < https://www.bustle.com/life/9-productive-ways-to-spend-womens-equality-day-10193052 >

    Constitutioncenter.org. 2021. Why Is August 26 Women’s Equality Day? [online] Available at: < https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/why-august-26-is-known-as-womans-equality-day >

    NationalGeographic.com. 2020. For Black women, the 19th Amendment didn’t end their fight to vote. [online] Available at: < https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/black-women-continued-fighting-for-vote-after-19th-amendment >

    NationalGeographic.com. 2020. How the U.S. Voting Rights Act was won—and why it’s under fire today. [online] Available at: < https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/history-voting-rights-act >

September

  • Celebrate International Day of Peace

    Established by the United Nations in 1981, International Day of Peace—or Peace Day—is observed around the globe on September 21. The day marks a 24-hour, worldwide ceasefire within conflict zones as well as a time for championing the ideals of peace between all nations and people.

    Today’s Implications

    Traditionally, the UN marks each annual International Day of Peace with a specific theme, allowing advocates for peace around the world to shine a light on specific social, economic, environmental, and political issues that stand in the way of our global wellbeing. In 2022, the Peace Day theme is “End Racism, Build Peace,” which calls attention to systemic, race-based oppression and xenophobia, much of which has been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic and an increase in refugees seeking safe harbor from conflict zones.

    In recent years, incidents of hatred and intolerance have risen around the world, including within the U.S., where far-right extremism fueled by misinformation has become one of our greatest terroristic threats.  The International Day of Peace reminds us that education is a critical agent of peace and that we are all capable of learning and raising awareness about the myriad challenges to peace in developed and developing nations.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    You can work for peace on many different levels, from addressing issues in your workplace and local community to raising awareness about national and global threats to peace. The UN offers a range of ideas for participating in International Day of Peace, including specific opportunities for college students to work for peace on their campuses.

     

    Sources:

    Internationaldayofpeace.org. 2022. UN International Day of Peace. [online] Available at:
    < https://internationaldayofpeace.org/ >

    Un.org. 2022. International Day of Peace, 21 September. [online] Available at:
    < https://www.un.org/en/observances/international-day-peace >

    Unesco.org. 2018. Long Walk of Peace Towards a Culture of Prevention. [online] Available at:
    < https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000262885 >

  • National Voter Registration Day

    Since 2012, National Voter Registration Day has marked a celebration of democracy in the United States. The day falls each year on the fourth Tuesday in September.

    As a nonpartisan civic holiday, National Voter Registration Day draws volunteers and organizations from around the country toward the common goal of helping all who are eligible get registered to vote. To date, nearly 4.7 million people have registered to vote on the holiday, which has been endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and the National Association of Election Officials (The Election Center).

    Today’s Implications

    Voting in our local, state, and federal elections is the single most important way to make your voice heard. But according to U.S. Census data from 2020, as many as a quarter of eligible Americans are not registered to vote. National Voter Registration Day aims to help all eligible voters exercise their Constitutional right by making deadlines transparent and voter registration channels easier to navigate. During this day, volunteers take to the streets and social media to help educate the public about our elections systems and register non-registered voters.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    National Voter Registration Day is not about political parties or differences; it is a time to make sure you are ready to vote and help others do the same! Visit the National Voter Registration Day #VoteReady page to find your polling place, register, and learn more about the voting process.

    Once you’re ready to vote, consider how you can help others exercise their voting rights. You can sign up to work the polls or join the National Voter Registration Day volunteer force. Check out their toolkit for tips on spreading awareness on the ground and through social media.

    It’s important to recognize the voting barriers that many Americans face, including intimidation at polls, lack of access to polling places, overcomplicated systems, voting laws specific to formerly incarcerated people, and more. A great way to help is by knowing your rights at the polls and sharing that knowledge with others. Learn more about systemic efforts to disenfranchise eligible voters through the ACLU. 

     

    Sources:

    Nationalvoterregistrationday.org. 2022. National Voter Registration Day. [online] Available at: < https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/ >

  • Celebrate Latinx History During “Hispanic Heritage Month”

    Initiated in 1968 as a weeklong celebration by President Lyndon Johnson, Hispanic Heritage Month now encompasses the full 31-day period between September 15 and October 15. The start date commemorates the national independence of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and nods to the independence days of Mexico, Chile, and Belize on September 16, 18, and 21, respectively. Traditionally, the month has been a time for honoring Latinx heritage and influence throughout the history of the United States. And yet for many Latinx Americans, it’s very moniker—“Hispanic Heritage Month”—undermines the intended mission of the celebration.

    The term “Hispanic” has its roots in the U.S. Census, which opted for an umbrella categorization of people from a vast array of countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, as well as Mexico. The word itself is an anglicized version of the Spanish word “Hispano,” which refers to a person whose cultural traditions originated in Spain. In this way, “Hispanic” not only fails to capture the myriad identities, languages, and cultures of Latinx people, it also erases those with African roots and indigenous lineages that predate Spanish colonization. What is most important to remember is that, although the terms Latinx and Hispanic can overlap, they are not interchangeable. (A simple way of differentiating them is that Latinx prioritizes geography while Hispanic prioritizes language, though this understanding is by no means comprehensive.) So, while some Americans do feel represented by and accepting of the term “Hispanic,” it’s important to understand that many do not.

    Today’s Implications

    Because it is linguistically impossible to account for the cultural identities of the roughly 62 million Americans honored by Hispanic Heritage Month in a single word, many debates have arisen over how this annual event can more authentically honor the people it celebrates. Latinx Heritage Month is a preferred option for many, though those advocating for a change to the name are quick to point out that the issue goes beyond terminology. For example, Black and Indigenous Latinx people historically face greater marginalization that a mere shift in language cannot capture. As we continue to celebrate and envision the future of Hispanic Heritage Month, it is critical to amplify diverse voices and shine a spotlight on the conversations that expand our understanding of the myriad Latinx cultures woven through the fabric of our nation.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    South Florida is home to a vibrant Latinx community, which makes it a prime destination during Hispanic Heritage Month. From exhibitions at the Miami Children’s Museum to an evening dedicated to Cuban culture, you’ll find many events, performances, and culinary offerings to explore.

    As you celebrate cultural offerings, remember that Latinx people continue to face discrimination. Don’t turn away from stories of oppression and injustice during this time. Learn about the historic struggles of Latinx people in this country and the bold fights for civil rights, including the Zoot Suit Riots and the 1960s Chicana-led walkouts to protest segregated Los Angeles high schools. We also encourage you to frequent Latinx-owned business and donate your time or money to organizations that uplift and support Latinx communities

    View Video

    Sources:

    Npr.org. 2021. Yes, We’re Calling It Hispanic Heritage Month And We Know It Makes Some of You Cringe. [online] Available at: < https://www.npr.org/2021/09/17/1037741009/yes-were-calling-it-hispanic-heritage-month-and-we-know-it-makes-some-of-you-cri >

    Nytimes.com. 2019. Does Hispanic Heritage Month Need a Rebrand? [online] Available at: < https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/14/style/does-hispanic-heritage-month-need-a-rebrand.html >

October

  • Celebrate LGBT History Month

    For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and other queer-identified people, October marks an important time for learning and celebrating history. Started in 1994 by a Missouri high school teacher, Rodney Wilson, LGBT History Month shines a spotlight on 31 LGBTQ+ icons, one for each day of the month. Both living and dead icons are nominated by the public for their achievements and contributions to LGBTQ+ civil rights. Since its inception, LGBT History Month has been endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Education Association among others.

    Today’s Implications

    The LGBTQ+ community is the only group worldwide that is not taught its history at home, in public schools, or in religious institutions. LGBT History Month aims to celebrate queer history by amplifying the voices of those who have paved the way toward acceptance, pride, and liberty. The celebration takes place in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day (October 11) and mark the anniversary of the first march on Washington by LGBT people on October 14, 1979.

    Over decades, the U.S. made legislative and cultural strides toward equality; and yet, discrimination against LGBTQ+ people remains. In Florida, for example, the “Don’t Say Gay” law prevents school teachers from discussing any sexual orientation or gender identity that is not strait and cis. Around the country, many states are proposing and passing legislation that criminalizes essential, gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth. Such anti-LGBTQ+ policy reminds us how important it is to recognize queer history and commit to working toward a more inclusive future.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    LGBTQ+ history has been mostly left out of history books. Learn about significant events in LGBTQ+ history from the Making Gay History podcast. To find out more about an influential trans icon, watch The Life and Death of Marsha P. Johnson on Netflix. And check out the Tools for All section of Barry’s JEDI page for a variety of resources.

    Trans people experience higher rates of violence and discrimination, as well as insufficient access to competent, gender-affirming healthcare. Learn more about issues facing trans individuals at the National Center for Transgender Equality.

    Sexual and Gender Identity are only a portion of an individual’s identity and experience in the world. Learn about the intersections of identity by listening to the Queerly Beloved podcast, exploring AAPI LGBTQ+ resources, or watching D-L Stewart’s TED Talk, Scenes from a Black Trans Life.

     

    Sources:

    Aclu.org. 2022. Legislation Affecting LGBTQ Rights Across the Country. [online] Available at: < https://www.aclu.org/legislation-affecting-lgbtq-rights-across-country >

    Glaad.org. 2011. Celebrate LGBT History Month. [online] Available at: < https://www.glaad.org/blog/celebrate-lgbt-history-month >

    Lgbthistorymonth.com. 2022. About LGBT History Month. [online] Available at: < https://lgbthistorymonth.com/background >

  • Celebrate Latinx History During “Hispanic Heritage Month”

    Initiated in 1968 as a weeklong celebration by President Lyndon Johnson, Hispanic Heritage Month now encompasses the full 31-day period between September 15 and October 15. The start date commemorates the national independence of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and nods to the independence days of Mexico, Chile, and Belize on September 16, 18, and 21, respectively. Traditionally, the month has been a time for honoring Latinx heritage and influence throughout the history of the United States. And yet for many Latinx Americans, it’s very moniker—“Hispanic Heritage Month”—undermines the intended mission of the celebration.

    The term “Hispanic” has its roots in the U.S. Census, which opted for an umbrella categorization of people from a vast array of countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, as well as Mexico. The word itself is an anglicized version of the Spanish word “Hispano,” which refers to a person whose cultural traditions originated in Spain. In this way, “Hispanic” not only fails to capture the myriad identities, languages, and cultures of Latinx people, it also erases those with African roots and indigenous lineages that predate Spanish colonization. What is most important to remember is that, although the terms Latinx and Hispanic can overlap, they are not interchangeable. (A simple way of differentiating them is that Latinx prioritizes geography while Hispanic prioritizes language, though this understanding is by no means comprehensive.) So, while some Americans do feel represented by and accepting of the term “Hispanic,” it’s important to understand that many do not.

    Today’s Implications

    Because it is linguistically impossible to account for the cultural identities of the roughly 62 million Americans honored by Hispanic Heritage Month in a single word, many debates have arisen over how this annual event can more authentically honor the people it celebrates. Latinx Heritage Month is a preferred option for many, though those advocating for a change to the name are quick to point out that the issue goes beyond terminology. For example, Black and Indigenous Latinx people historically face greater marginalization that a mere shift in language cannot capture. As we continue to celebrate and envision the future of Hispanic Heritage Month, it is critical to amplify diverse voices and shine a spotlight on the conversations that expand our understanding of the myriad Latinx cultures woven through the fabric of our nation.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    South Florida is home to a vibrant Latinx community, which makes it a prime destination during Hispanic Heritage Month. From exhibitions at the Miami Children’s Museum to an evening dedicated to Cuban culture, you’ll find many events, performances, and culinary offerings to explore.

    As you celebrate cultural offerings, remember that Latinx people continue to face discrimination. Don’t turn away from stories of oppression and injustice during this time. Learn about the historic struggles of Latinx people in this country and the bold fights for civil rights, including the Zoot Suit Riots and the 1960s Chicana-led walkouts to protest segregated Los Angeles high schools. We also encourage you to frequent Latinx-owned business and donate your time or money to organizations that uplift and support Latinx communities

    View Video

    Sources:

    Npr.org. 2021. Yes, We’re Calling It Hispanic Heritage Month And We Know It Makes Some of You Cringe. [online] Available at: < https://www.npr.org/2021/09/17/1037741009/yes-were-calling-it-hispanic-heritage-month-and-we-know-it-makes-some-of-you-cri >

    Nytimes.com. 2019. Does Hispanic Heritage Month Need a Rebrand? [online] Available at: < https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/14/style/does-hispanic-heritage-month-need-a-rebrand.html >

November

  • Celebrate Black Catholic History Month

    Roughly 200 million people of African descent are members of the Roman Catholic Church, with more than 173 million of those living on the African continent. In fact, over the past century, the Church has experienced the greatest growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Black Catholic History Month—celebrated for the entirety of November—honors the many saints and souls of Africa and the African Diaspora and marks a time to recognize the importance of Black voices within a traditionally white-dominated space.

    Black Catholic History Month originated in 1990, when the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States voted to appoint November as the official month for recognizing the significant contributions of Black Catholics to the faith. The caucus chose November because several important dates to Catholics of African descent fall within this month, including: All Saints Day (November 1); All Souls Day (November 2); the anniversary of the canonization of Martin de Porres, the first Black American saint (November 3); and the birthday of Saint Augustine, the first Doctor of the Church (November 13).

    Today’s Implications

    Celebrating Black Catholic stories AND amplifying Black Catholic voices are essential. And yet, many Black Catholic voices remain marginalized. According to Black Catholic Messenger, stories of significant Black figures within the Church are often told by non-Black people, which has led to fetishizing Black cultures and spreading incorrect information about the Black Catholic experience. Black Catholic History Month offers an opportunity for all Catholics to seek out the lived experiences of Black practitioners of the faith.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Educate yourself about important events in Black Catholic history. Black Catholic Messenger is a platform created by Black Catholics to discuss their experience with their faith. The storied publication Commonweal covers politics and culture from a Catholic perspective and often features Black Catholic voices.

     

    Sources:

    Blackcatholicmessenger.com. 2022. Black Catholic Messenger. [online] Available at: < https://www.blackcatholicmessenger.com/ >

    Cultural.catholic.edu. 2022. Black Catholic History Month. [online] Available at: < https://cultural.catholic.edu/resources/bchm.html >

  • World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse

    In 2000, the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF), a nongovernmental organization, designated November 19 as World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. Ever since, organizations and communities around the globe have marked the day as a time for raising awareness about the violence and exploitation children of all nationalities, cultures, races, classes, and religions can face. The date was chosen in synergy with the November 20 anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989. 

    Today’s Implications

    Children are our most vulnerable citizens. In areas of conflict and relative peace, they experience violence and abuse, including forced labor, sexual exploitation, and conscription by militias. World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse is a multi-organizational, multi-national recognition of these crimes against children and an effort to discuss and mobilize prevention tactics. In the U.S., the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are committed to making November 19 a rallying point for awareness around child abuse. Campaigns revolve around helping others recognize the signs of child abuse and making visible the sobering statistics. American children, for example, are more likely to die from abuse and neglect than from accidents. Also in the U.S., 18,000 children per year are permanently disabled by child violence, while 565,000 are seriously injured.

    How to Help Continue the Work  

    Knowing what child maltreatment entails can help you become an effective advocate for the children in your life, whether you are a parent or trusted adult. The APA provides a criteria for child maltreatment and also oversees the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program, which teaches positive parenting skills to parents and caregivers. Educators who work with children can also check out this list of resources.

    Preventing child abuse involves making space for each child to be fully themselves. Gender nonconforming and queer kids face greater risk of abuse from their peers and within their families. The American Library Association offers a great children’s reading list that centers inclusivity. Resources for supporting Asian and Asian-American children can be found through the Society for Research in Child Development. Gender Spectrum is an excellent space for families, educators, and friends of gender-diverse kids. Parents of Black Children advocates for families and works to facilitate equitable treatment of all children.

     

    Sources:

    Apa.org. 2011. World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse. [online] Available at: < https://www.apa.org/pi/prevent-violence/programs/international-day >

    Comminit.com. 2011. World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. [online] Available at: < https://www.comminit.com/unicef/content/world-day-prevention-child-abuse >

December

  • Commemorated each year on December 1, World AIDS Day is a chance for people around the globe to voice their support for those living with HIV and remember the more than 36 million who have died of HIV- and AIDS-related illnesses. 

    World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988, at the height of a worldwide effort to mobilize in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Within the U.S., this was the year when New York City launched a needle-exchange program, when teenager Ryan White became a national spokesperson for AIDS education, and when, in response to organized protests, the FDA announced new regulations to accelerate the process of approving life-preserving treatments.

     

    Today’s Implications

    In the 41 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported, great medical strides have been made to combat the epidemic. And yet, HIV remains a threat to the health of our global citizens. As a primary supporter of World AIDS Day, the United Nations established 2030 as our worldwide deadline to eradicate the disease. We are far from meeting that goal. Structural inequities and social injustices—notably poverty, racism, and homophobia—allow the stigma around HIV and AIDS to remain. That stigma affects everything from further investment into virology research to the ways in which those living with HIV are treated by their own doctors.

    It must be said that, because the first cases of AIDS were discovered in gay men—a historically marginalized population—the U.S. government and specifically the Reagan administration were catastrophically slow to respond to the growing crisis. It is difficult not to find a causal link between societal homophobia and the apathetic response of American legislators and our governing healthcare bodies during the height of the crisis. The LGBTQ+ community continues to suffer from the trauma of the AIDS epidemic.

     

    How to Help Continue the Work

    Education and allyship are two excellent ways to combat the stigma against those living with HIV and rally our legislators to continue supporting HIV and AIDS research. HIV.gov offers a toolkit and event-planning guide for those who want to spread awareness and support during World AIDS Day.

    HIV can affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, age, or where they live. However, in the United States, some racial and ethnic groups are more affected than others. For example, Black and Latinx communities are disproportionately affected by HIV. Additionally, a range of social, economic, and demographic factors such as stigma, discrimination, income, education, and geographic region can affect people’s risk for HIV as well as their HIV-related outcomes.

    Compassionate, knowledgeable healthcare is a human right, and yet many with HIV face barriers to treatment. You can read about these health disparities through the National Institute of Health, which funded a recent report that found that bias among healthcare workers impacted HIV outcomes for patients.

     

    Sources:

    Cdc.gov. 2021. World AIDS Day — December 1. [online] Available at: < https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/awareness/wad.html >

    Hiv.gov. 2021. To end HIV epidemic, we must address health disparities. [online] Available at: < https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/end-hiv-epidemic-we-must-address-health-disparities >

    Hiv.gov. 2022. A Timeline of HIV and AIDS. [online] Available at: < https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/history/hiv-and-aids-timeline >

    Hiv.gov. 2021. World AIDS Day #WorldAIDSDay. [online] Available at: < https://www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/world-aids-day >

    Un.org. 2021. End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics. [online] Available at: < https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-aids-day

  • International Day of Persons with Disabilities

    In 1992, the United Nations proclaimed December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day for recognizing and promoting the rights and wellbeing of those living with disabilities, and a day for raising awareness of the obstacles disabled people face across all aspects of social, economic, and political life.

    Disability inclusion is essential to upholding human rights, forwarding sustainable development, and promoting peace and security around the globe. With each annual celebration, the UN and organizations worldwide aim to share the stories of disabled people to promote understanding, action, and optimism as we look toward a future where all people are honored and respected for who they are.

    Today’s Implications

    More than a billion people—roughly 15 percent of the world’s population—are living with a disability; and 80 percent of those live in developing nations. Disabilities come in many forms and impact people in a variety of ways. They can include physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments, mental-health conditions, and chronic illnesses.

    As a group, people with disabilities represent the world’s largest minority. They face greater risks of violence, have poorer health outcomes and fewer economic opportunities, and experience higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities. International Day of Persons with Disabilities reminds us that when barriers to inclusion are removed and people with disabilities are empowered, communities as a whole benefit.

    How to Help Continue the Work

    To learn more about the intersection of disability and human rights, accessibility needs, and barriers to inclusion watch the UN webinar Disability Inclusion 101.

    Language matters. How we talk to and about our community members living with disabilities is important, but no one rule works for everyone. While some prefer “person-first language”—person with a disability, for example—others prefer “identity-first language” (also called “person-centered language”)—disabled person, for example. There are critics of both practices, but a good rule of thumb is to ask! Check out the Radical Copy Editor, which offers some great insight into how to respect language preferences among members of the disabled community.

    Learn about the experiences of those living with disabilities from first person accounts via the Disability Visibility Podcast or the CDC’s collection of stories from people living with a disability. You can also help dismantle barriers for those with disabilities by learning about issues facing this population and getting involved. Visit the American Association of People with Disabilities Advocacy page to start learning.

     

    Sources:

    Un.org. 2021. International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December. [online] Available at: < https://www.un.org/en/observances/day-of-persons-with-disabilities >

  • International Human Rights Day

    International Human Rights Day is observed each year on December 10, the anniversary of the day, in 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This landmark document, drafted three years after the end of World War II, is the most translated of all time, and yet far too many global citizens are unaware of their basic human rights.

    Celebrating International Human Rights Day is our reminder to protect and advocate for the dignity of all people, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, nationality, or other status. Each year, the UN designates a theme to help galvanize human rights advocates around the globe to participate.

    Today’s Implications

    Every day, including in the U.S., people’s basic human rights are infringed upon, whether because of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. While the UDHR is a nonbinding document, its tenants lay bare the necessity of upholding human rights for global peace and prosperity. Not only can a human rights-based economy break poverty cycles and prevent conflict, it can also close healthcare disparities, foster climate justice, and create a more resilient society.

    How to Help Continue the Work 

    People all over the world are fighting for human rights within their own communities. Learn about these efforts and how you can become a stronger advocate. Find human rights issues you are passionate about and advocate for change. Human Rights Watch offers ample resources to explore and learn about various human rights issues. You can also visit Barry’s AREC Resource page for education materials, learning opportunities, toolkits to advance your advocacy skills, and more.

     

    Sources:

    Ohchr.org. 2021. Human Rights Day. [online] Available at: <https://www.ohchr.org/en/about_us/human_rights_day >

    Standup4humanrights.org. 2022. Stand Up for Human Rights. [online] Available at: <https://www.standup4humanrights.org/en/index.html >

    Un.org. 2021. Human Rights Day, 10 December. [online] Available at: <https://www.un.org/en/observances/human-rights-day >

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