Diversity & Black Holidays

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General Diversity Holidays

April is Celebrate Diversity Month. It was started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding  us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month,  organizers hope that people will get a deeper understanding of each  other.

May 21 is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development,  a day set aside by the United Nations in 2001  as an opportunity to  deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to  learn to live together better.

October brings Global Diversity Awareness Month to remind us of the positive impact a diverse workforce of men and women can have on a society.

October 4 through October 10, 2020 (the first full week of October) marks National Diversity Week,  founded in 1998 to raise awareness about the diversity which has  shaped, and continues to shape, the United States. It’s celebrated on a  city- or company-wide scale across the U.S., though some organizations  observe it at other times of the year.

October 19, 2020 (every third Monday in October) is Multicultural Diversity Day, a national day created by Cleorah Scruggs, a fourth-grade teacher in  Flint, Michigan, the day was adopted as a national event by the NEA’s  1993 Representative Assembly to “increase awareness of the tremendous  need to celebrate our diversity collectively.”

Black/African American Holidays

January is Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month began by President Barack Obama. On December 28th 2016, he called upon  businesses, national & community organizations, families, and all  Americans to recognize the vital role they must play in ending all forms  of slavery, and to observe this month with appropriate programs and  activities.

January 1 is the Emancipation Proclamation anniversary. On this date in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed this document  proclaiming that all slaves living within rebelling Confederate states  “are, and henceforth shall be, free.”

January 5 is George Washington Carver Day.  Dr. Carver was awarded the Roosevelt Medal in 1939 for saving Southern  agriculture, which was later instrumental in feeding the United States  during World War II). For this reason, Dr. Carver’s hometown was made a  historic site upon his death on Jan. 5, 1943. During the 79th Congress,  Public Law 290 was passed to designate January 5th of each year as  George Washington Carver Recognition Day.

January 21 (every third Monday of January) is Martin Luther King Day,  commemorating the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., the recipient of  the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for nonviolent social change  until his assassination in 1968.

February is Black History Month in the United States and Canada. Since 1976, the month has been  designated to remember the contributions of people of the African  Diaspora. Historian Carter G. Woodson launched the holiday because  contributions that African Americans have made to U.S. culture and  society are largely omitted from and overlooked in history books.

February 4 is Rosa Parks Day, is an American holiday in honor of the civil rights leader. In California and Missouri, Rosa Parks Day is celebrated on her birthday, February 4. In Ohio and Oregon, it’s celebrated on the day she was arrested, December 1.

February 14 is Frederick Douglass Day.  The day marks the birthday of Frederick Douglass (born Frederick  Augustus Washington Bailey). He was an American social reformer, orator,  writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader  of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and  incisive antislavery writing. He stood as a living counter-example to  slaveholders’ arguments that slaves did not have the intellectual  capacity to function as independent American citizens.

March 5 is Crispus Attucks Day, or Boston Massacre Day.  It has been observed since 1771, mainly in Boston, Massachusetts. Since  1949, Crispus Attucks Day has also been a legal day of observance in  the state of New Jersey. Crispus Attucks was the first Black American to  die during the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, a key event leading up  to the Revolutionary War. For this reason, he is considered the first  American fatality of the War.

March 10 is Harriet Tubman Day, an American holiday in honor of the anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross),  observed nationally, in the State of New York, and locally around the  State of Maryland. Despite great hardship and great danger, Ms. Tubman  undertook 19 trips as a conductor to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom.  She later became an eloquent and effective speaker on behalf of the  movement to abolish slavery, also serving the Civil War as a soldier,  spy, and nurse, among other roles. She died on March 10, 1913.

March 16 marks publication of the First Black Newspaper in America.  In 1827, Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm debuted “Freedom’s  Journal,” the first African-American-owned and operated newspaper  published in the U.S. All 103 issues have been digitized and are  available at the Wisconsin Historical Society’s website.

March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  This annual day commemorates the lives that have been lost to fight for  democracy and equal human rights in South Africa during the Apartheid  regime.

April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day, a traditional event which occurs annually in Major League Baseball, commemorating and honoring the day Jackie Robinson made his major league debut. April 15 was Opening Day in 1947,  Robinson’s first season in the Major Leagues. Initiated for the first  time on April 15, 2004, Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated each year on  that day.

April 16 is Emancipation Day,  a holiday in Washington DC to mark the anniversary of the signing of  the Compensated Emancipation Act, which president Abraham Lincoln signed  on April 16, 1862. It freed more than 3000 slaves in the District of  Columbia.

May 17 is the Anniversary of the School Desegregation Ruling. In 1954, racial segregation in public schools was unanimously ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, found to violate the 14th Amendment clause guaranteeing equal protection under the law.

May 17, 2020 (the third Sunday of May) is “Malcolm X Day”, an American holiday in honor of civil rights leader Malcolm X, celebrated either on his birthday (May 19, 1925) or the 3rd Sunday of May. The commemoration was proposed as an official state holiday in the State of Illinois in 2015. As of present, only the city of Berkeley, California observes the holiday with city offices and schools closed.

May 19 is Malcolm X’s Birthday, an American holiday in honor of civil rights leader Malcolm X, whose real name is El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Some choose to celebrate either on his birthday (May 19, 1925), or on the 3rd Sunday of May.

May 25 is African Liberation Day. Also known as African Freedom Day,  it is a day to “mark, each year, the onward progress of the liberation  movement, and to symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to  free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.”

June is African American Music Appreciation Month.  It began in 1979 when Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams  developed the idea to set aside a month dedicated to celebrating the  impact of Black music. In 2009, President Barack Obama declared the  start of summer as a celebration for all the Black “musicians,  composers, singers, and songwriters [who] have made enormous  contributions to our culture.” On May 31, 2016, President Obama  officially declared the month of June as African American Music  Appreciation Month.

June 14, 2020 (second Sunday in June) is the “Odunde Festival,” or African New Year. This  one-day festival is mostly a street market catered to African-American  interests and the African diaspora derived from the tradition of the  Yoruba people of Nigeria in celebration of the new year. It’s centered  at the intersection of Grays Ferry Avenue and South Street in  Philadelphia, PA. The Odunde festival started in Philly in 1975,  established by Lois Fernandez with just $100 in neighborhood donations.  Now, this celebration is the largest African celebration on the east  coast of the U.S.

June 12 is Loving Day,  which commemorates the date in 1967 that an interracial couple got the  U.S. Supreme Court to strike down anti-miscegenation laws in the  country. Today, Blacks, whites and others celebrate June 12 as Loving  Day throughout the nation.

June 19 is Juneteenth, (AKA “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day”),  and is observed as a public holiday in 14 U.S. states. This celebration  honors the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas and Louisiana finally heard  that they were free, two full months after the end of the Civil War.  June 19, therefore, became the day of emancipation for thousands of  Black U.S. citizens. While most slaves received their freedom after  President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves  in Texas had to wait more than 2.5 years later to receive their freedom —  on June 19, 1865 when the Union Army arrived in Galveston ordering that  slavery end in the “Lone Star State.” Ever since, African Americans  have celebrated that date as “Juneteenth Independence Day.” Juneteenth  is an official State Holiday in Texas.

June 23 is Birthday of Haile Selassie (Rastafari),  former Emperor of Ethiopia who Rastas considered to be God and their  Savior, who would return to Africa the members of the Black community  living in exile. The Rastafari movement surfaced in Jamaica among  peasant and working-class Black people and was propagated through the  Rastas’ interest in reggae music, most notably that of Bob Marley, the  Jamaican-born singer and songwriter.

July 18 is Nelson Mandela International Day in recognition of Mandela’s birthday on July 18, 2009, launched via  unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly. It was inspired by a call  Nelson Mandela made a year earlier for the next generation to take on  the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices by  saying, “It is in your hands now.” This day is more than a celebration  of Madiba’s life, work, and legacy; it’s a global movement to take  action to change the world for the better.

July 19 is the Maafa Commemoration. This commemoration provides an opportunity for members of the  African-descended community to remember the millions of Africans — men,  women, and children — who were sold, kidnapped, shipped and who died  along the route from Africa to the Americas.

August 13 is the date in 1920 that the red, black, and green Pan-African flag was  formally adopted by The Universal Negro Improvement Association and  African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) in Article 39 of the Declaration  of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World.

August 17 is Marcus Garvey Day, which celebrates the birthday of the Jamaican politician and activist  who is revered by Rastafarians. Garvey is credited with starting the  Back to Africa movement, which encouraged those of African descent to  return to the land of their ancestors during and after slavery in North  America.

September 11, 2020 (or, during a leap year, September 12) is Enkutatash, or the Ethiopian New Year. Rastafarians  celebrate the New Year on this date and believe that Ethiopia is their  spiritual home, a place they desire to return to. Enkutatash means “gift  of jewels” in Amharic.  The celebration is both religious and secular  with the day beginning with church services, followed by the family  meal. Young children receive small gifts of money or bread after the  girls gather flowers and sing, and boys paint pictures of saints.  Families visit friends, and adults drink Ethiopian beer.

September 25 is when school desegregation came to Little Rock, AR.  In 1957, nine teenagers became the first African-Americans to attend  the all white Central High School in Arkansas, putting a national  spotlight on racism. Former President Eisenhower sent federal troops to  protect the students and ensure compliance with the Supreme Court’s  Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision.

October 1 is Jerry Rescue Day.  This observance celebrates the rescue of William Jerry Henry. Known as  “Jerry,” Henry was a fugitive slave who was captured in Syracuse, New  York, but freed from jail on October 1, 1851, with the help of  abolitionists. Originally a protest against the Fugitive Slave Law of  1850, the “Jerry Rescue” was commemorated on that day each year from  1852 to 1859, and on occasion after that time.

October 2 marks the date Thurgood Marshall was sworn into the Supreme Court. In 1967, Judge 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.

October 3 marks the date Frank Robinson was signed as Major League Manager. In 1974, hired by the Cleveland Indians, he became the first African American to manage a major league baseball team.

October 17 is Black Poetry Day,  observed annually. This is a day to honor past and present black poets.  Jupiter Hammon, the first published black poet in the United States,  was born in Long Island, New York, on October 17, 1711. In honor of  Hammon’s birth, we celebrate the contributions of all African Americans  to the world of poetry.

November 22, 2020 (fourth Sunday in November) is Umoja Karamu Celebration,  created in 1971 by Edward Simms Jr. to inject new meaning and  solidarity into the Black family through ceremony and symbol. Umoja  Karamu means “unity feast” in Swahili, and is based around five colors  and their meanings, which represent five historical periods in  African-American history. Black represents Black families before  slavery, White symbolizes the scattering of Black families during  slavery, Red denotes the liberation from slavery, Green signifies the  struggle for civil equality and Gold implies hope for the future.

December 1 is Rosa Parks Day, is an American holiday in honor of the civil rights leader. In Ohio and Oregon, Rosa Parks Day is celebrated on the day she was arrested, December 1. In California and Missouri, it is celebrated on her birthday, February 4.

December 2 is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery,  marking the date the General Assembly adopted the “United Nations  Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the  Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others” (resolution 317(IV) of  December 2, 1949). The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary  forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation,  the worst forms of child labor, forced marriage, and the forced  recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

December 26-January 1 is Kwanzaa,  a holiday established in 1996 by Maulana Karenga as a time for African  Americans to “discover and bring forth the best of our culture, both  ancient and current, and use it as a foundation to bring into being  models of human excellence and possibilities to enrich and expand our  lives.”

Original article appears here: https://excellentpresence.com/5555/diversity-calendar-2020-multicultural-holidays/#black