Diversity Events for July-December 2011
(see also Diversity Events for January-June 2011)
Independence Day was first celebrated on July 8, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was read to the public. Congress declared the day a federal legal holiday in 1941. The holiday is celebrated with parades, fireworks, picnics, sporting events, and music, including the "Star-Spangled Banner" and several marches of John Philip Sousa.
Independence Day or Fourth of July
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a law that was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1990 “to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability." It was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush, and later amended with changes effective January 1, 2009.
Anniversary of the Signing of Americans with Disabilities Act
August 1-30 During Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. This is a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice.
August 13-16 The Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed spirits of one's ancestors has evolved into a family reunion holiday, during which people return to ancestral family places to visit and clean their ancestors' graves. Celebrated for over 500 years, the event lasts for three days. (In some regions of Japan, the Bon Festival is celebrated in mid-July.)
Bon Festival (Feast of Lanterns)
August 15 For Catholics, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary commemorates the departure of Mary, the mother of Jesus, from this life, and the assumption of her body into heaven. It is the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin.
Feast of the Assumption
August 21 On this day in 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States of America. It is also the last state to be admitted to the union. Hawaii has the largest percentage of Asian Americans of any U.S. state.
Hawaii Admitted to Union
August 26 Introduced by Rep. Bella Abzug (former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, lawyer, writer, news commentator, and feminist) and established in 1971, this day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which in 1920 gave women in the United States full voting rights. Visit the National Women's History Museum for education resources.
Women's Equality Day
August 30 This Muslim feast day celebrates the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. The 3-day festival is known as "Eid" or "Eid al-Fitr," which literally means "the feast of the breaking the fast."
September 2 Teacher and NEA member Christa McAuliffe (1948–1986) was America’s first "ordinary citizen" in space. Along with six other crew members, she perished in 1986 on board the Space Shuttle Challenger.
Christa McAuliffe's Birthday
September 6 Labor Day honors the American worker and acknowledges the value and dignity of work and its role in American life. Labor Day was first celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York, and continued to be celebrated until June 28, 1894, when Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday. Learn more at Labor Day Resources.
September 8 Celebrated since 1965, when it was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), this event focuses on reading from a global perspective. Visit UNESCO and International Reading Association for information and activity ideas.
International Literacy Day
September 15-October 15 National Hispanic Heritage Month is a national observance authorized by Public Law 100-402. The observation was initiated in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week but was expanded in 1988 to include the entire 31-day period. See target=_blank>Hispanic Education Resources, Issues, & Scholarships.
Hispanic Heritage Month
September 16 September 16 is Independence Day in Mexico and is considered a patriotic holiday. Each year, the president of Mexico rings the bells of the National Palace in Mexico City, celebrating the start in 1810 of Mexico's struggle for independence from Spain.
Mexican Independence Day
September 17 On this day in 1787, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention met to sign the Constitution of the United States of America. By presidential proclamation, the entire week is given to observing this important anniversary. Visit the National Constitution Center and the Constitution Day web site for more information and teacher resources.
Citizenship Day (or Constitution Day)
September 21 Established by United Nations resolution in 1982, this event is a global holiday when individuals, communities, nations, and governments highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace. To inaugurate the day, the "Peace Bell" is rung at U.N. headquarters. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents, as a reminder of the human cost of war. For information, visit the International Day of Peace site.
International Day of Peace
September 25 On this day in 1957, nine teenagers became the first African-Americans to attend all-White Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The ensuing events riveted the nation and focused a spotlight on racism. President Eisenhower intervened and sent federal troops to protect the students and ensure compliance with the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision. For more information, go to Central High School National Historic Site. See PBS Newshour Transcript on 40th anniversary.
School Desegregation Comes to Little Rock
September 29-30 The Jewish New Year, also known as the Days of Renewed Responsibility, begins at sunset on day one and ends at nightfall the next day. The event is marked by solemn religious observances.
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
LGBT (was GLBT) History MonthLGBT History Month brings awareness to the problems and the achievements of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people. Here are some LGBT resources:
- Back-To-School Guide for Creating LGBT Inclusive Environments
- 6 Tips for Educators Dealing with Harassment of LGBT Students
- Research Reports from Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
National Bullying Prevention MonthTraditionally held the first week in October, the event has been expanded to include activities, education, and awareness building for the entire month. Check out bullying prevention resources for elementary classrooms to kick off your anti-bullying efforts.
Italian American Heritage MonthEvery year the U.S. president signs an executive order designating the month of October as National Italian American Heritage Month in recognition of the achievements and contributions made to American culture by persons of Italian heritage. See Milestones of the Italian American Experience.
October 2 Mohandas Karamchand “Mahatma” Gandhi is one of the most respected spiritual and political leaders of the twentieth century. Through nonviolent resistance, Gandhi helped free India from British rule. The Indian people called Gandhi “Mahatma,” meaning Great Soul. See Mohandas Gandhi biography.
Gandhi's Birthday & International Day of Nonviolence
October 2 In 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American to sit on the highest court in the land. Opposing discrimination and the death penalty, he championed free speech and civil liberties.
Thurgood Marshall Sworn Into Supreme Court
October 3 In 1974, Robinson became the first African American to manage a major league baseball team when he was hired by the Cleveland Indians.
Frank Robinson Signed as Major League Manager
October 6 In 1987, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed this day German American Day, commemorating the 1683 arrival in America of 13 German families on board a sailing vessel.
German American Day
October 8 The most solemn day of the Jewish year, and one of the most important, the Day of Atonement is typically spent at synagogue in fasting, reflection, and prayer.
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
October 10 Celebrated annually on the second Monday in October, this federal holiday honors all explorers and commemorates Columbus’ sighting of the New World in 1492. It is also a time to remember a group of people who discovered America before Columbus: the nomadic ancestors of modern Native Americans.
October 13-19 Beginning at sunset on the first day, this seven-day festival celebrates the harvest and commemorates the Jews’ passage through the wilderness.
Sukkot (Jewish Feast of Tabernacles)
October 16 Since 1979, this worldwide event has sought to increase awareness, understanding, and informed year-round action to alleviate hunger, malnutrition, and poverty.
World Food Day
October 17 Celebrated on the third Monday in October, this day was adopted as a national event by NEA's 1993 Representative Assembly. See Multicultural Diversity Day for more information.
Multicultural Diversity Day
October 20 One of eleven holy days in the Bahá'í calendar, this day honors the Bab, whose mission was to prepare the way for Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Learn more about the birth of Bab.
Birth of the Báb
October 24 In the spring of 1945, representatives of fifty nations gathered in San Francisco to put the final touches to a document of far-reaching consequences - the Charter of the United Nations. The UN Charter went into effect on October 24, 1945. Two years later the UN General Assembly adopted a U.S.-sponsored resolution declaring October 24th United Nations Day. See the United Nations Resources for Educators.
United Nations Day
October 26-30 Known as the "Festival of Lights, this major Hindu holiday signifies the renewal of life, and the victory of good over evil. To celebrate, people light lamps and candles, set off fireworks, and wear new clothes.
Statue of Liberty Dedication
On this day in 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty, officially titled "Liberty Enlightening the World." This universal symbol of freedom and democracy was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States.
National Organization for Women (NOW) Founded
Since its founding in 1966, NOW has maintained its goal: to take action to bring about equality for all women. Learn more at the NOW site.
Also known as All Hallows’ Eve—the evening before All Saints Day or All Hallows Day—this event has roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (SOW-an). In Gaelic culture, it is a celebration of the end of the harvest season and a time to remember loved ones who have died. Today, in the United States and some Western countries, it is customary to wear costumes and take part in revelry.
American Indian Heritage Month
November was officially recognized as National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month in 1990 when President George H.W. Bush signed it into Public Law. See these sites for more information:
- Native American Heritage Month web site
- American Indians/Alaska Natives: Education Issues
- Native American Book List
Dalip Singh Saund First Asian American Elected to the U.S. Congress
After becoming a citizen in 1949, Saund became active in the Democratic Party in California. In 1956, he was the first Asian American to win a seat in the U.S. Congress. See more at Asian American Activism in History.
This holiday is the Islamic Feast of Sacrifice, the most important feast of Islam. The three-day festival recalls Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to Allah. It concludes the Hajj - the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. It occurs approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan. This year, in North America, it starts on November 6.
November 9 Mix It Up at Lunch Day is a national campaign that helps K-12 teachers develop inclusive school communities. See the resources (2010) at Teaching Tolerance web site.
Mix It Up at Lunch Day
November 11 Veterans Day is an annual American holiday honoring military veterans. It is both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In 1938, the United States Congress made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday - to be celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Congress amended this act in 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans," and it has been known as Veterans Day since then. See more at Military.com.
Dedication of Vietnam Memorial
On this day in 1982, the national war memorial in Washington, D.C. was dedicated after a march to its site by thousands of Vietnam War veterans. The memorial wall was designed by Chinese American Maya Lin, who was 21 years old at the time.
American Education Week
NEA's American Education Week (AEW) spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education from kindergarten through college, and the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great. See American Education Week.
The first recorded observance of Thanksgiving in America was a religious occasion that did not include the feast now associated with the holiday. On December 4, 1619, a small group of English settlers arrived at Berkeley Plantation on the James River in Virginia. In accordance with their charter, the group observed this day by giving thanks to God. A typical Thanksgiving meal in the United States includes turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and rolls. (From the University of Kansas Medical Center Diversity Calendar.)
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
In 1999, the UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime - with the abuser usually someone known to her. Learn more by visiting the World Health Organization web site and the United Nations web site.
November 25-December 10
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign
Each year, new partners join the campaign to bring local, national, and global attention to the various forms of violence that women face and to look at the structures in place that permit gender-based violence to exist and persist.
November 26-December 24
Muharram (Islamic New Year)
The month of Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic liturgical year. The Islamic year begins on the first day of Muharram, and is counted from the year of the Hegira (anno Hegirae), the year in which Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina (A.D. July 16, 622).
December 5-9 This annual event, sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network (ISN), http://www.inclusiveschools.org/ celebrates the progress that schools have made in providing a supportive, quality education to students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socioeconomic status, cultural heritage, language preference, and other factors. It provides an important opportunity for educators, students, and parents to discuss what else needs to be done to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.
Inclusive Schools Week
Human Rights Day
The anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly's adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—a document establishing a common standard for human achievement for all peoples and nations, rooted in the values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect, and shared responsibility. Learn more about Human Rights Day. See also the United Nations Human Rights web site.
Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, commemorates the Maccabees military victory over the Greek Syrians and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The festival is observed by the lighting of a special candelabrum, the Menorah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. See Chanukah resources.
Christmas is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. In Christianity, Christmas marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days. Traditions include the sending of cards, decorating with poinsettias and a Christmas tree, singing Christmas carols, and giving gifts.
December 26-January 1
Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday based on the agricultural celebration of Africa called “the first fruits” celebrations, which celebrate the times of harvest, gathering, reverence, commemoration of the past, recommitment to cultural ideals, and celebration of the good. Kwanzaa is celebrated annually December 26-January 1. Learn more about Kwanzaa.
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve is December 31, the final day of the Gregorian year and the day before New Year's Day. In modern Western practice, New Year's Eve is celebrated with parties and social gatherings marking the passing of one year into the next, at midnight.