Respected civil rights activist Audre Lorde once said that “It is not our differences that divide us, but people’s inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” There’s a lot of truth to this statement as each of us has our own unique talents, unique preferences, unique appearances, and unique attributes. It’s truly a beautiful thing as progress is made because of what each of us can offer the world.
So, what’s with all this talk about uniqueness, anyways? Well, uniqueness and individuality make up something called diversity, or any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. Diversity is sometimes intimidating to discuss, but diversity is about educating one another. What better time to educate about these topics than during Global Diversity and Awareness Month.
“Global diversity refers to the range of differences that describe the composition of a group of two or more people, in a cross-cultural and multi-national context.” Diversity is not just about the differences with the people each of us knows or has identified, but it is about everyone and their own individuality. The month of October is made up of various specific holidays and events that help celebrate and educate one another on the attributes others have to offer the world. Let’s dive in to discover more about some of the holidays of October centered around diversity and inclusion.
National Diversity Week
The first full week of October celebrates diversity within the United States each year. The history of the week only dates to being formally celebrated since 1998. Many cities, companies, and college campuses celebrate during this time to raise awareness of the diversity that has shaped and continues to shape our country. The sounds, sights, movements, and tastes from each group of people make this week special as they are used to educate each other about our differences.
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year in the religion of Judaism. It is common in this Jewish holiday for a day long fast to occur as well as intensive prayer, confession, and spending a great amount of the day in the synagogue. Yom Kippur translates to “Day of Atonement” and is the last of ten days of penitence. The belief in this way of life is by starting the Jewish New Year with having your shortcomings forgiven. It can help propel individuals to have a fantastic year. Yom Kippur is celebrated during National Diversity Week in 2022 and takes place from Tuesday, October 4 through Wednesday, October 5.
Indigenous People’s Day
Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October in the United States each year. It celebrates the contributions and resiliency of indigenous people. Indigenous, meaning occurring naturally in a particular space, identifies people who were living in the United States and Canada before the North American continent was settled by European crowns. American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are all examples of specific groups of indigenous people who each have their own rich histories and traditions. The current presidential administration became the first to recognize this day, with increasing efforts for it to become a federal holiday someday soon. Typical activities on this day include singing, dancing, eating traditional foods, telling stories, and wearing traditional clothing. Classrooms across the country also dedicate time to learn about different groups of indigenous people and the role they have played throughout history.
White Cane Safety Day
White Cane Safety Day’s history dates to 1964 and has been a holiday recognized each year on October 15. The day celebrates the achievements and milestones of those in the blind or visually impaired communities. The signature white cane is a tool many people from this community use to help them live a higher quality of life. A typical White Cane Safety Day includes walks or marches, speeches from local legislators, and various awareness activities to learn about the positive stories and contributions this community has through history.
There are many days and celebrations that take place in the month of October for people to consider celebrating and learn more about. These holidays include, but are not limited to, Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Family History Month, Filipino-American Heritage Month, Italian-American Heritage Month, LGBT History Month, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, National German Heritage Month, Multicultural Diversity Day, and International Stuttering Awareness Day.
The month of October is about allowing each of us to understand more about one another. There are many days to celebrate and various ways to educate yourself about different cultures, groups of people, and the overall history of our country. Check out National Today and a collection of other webpages for more information about this month.
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