Celebrate Diversity Month
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month began as Asian Heritage Week back in 1979, and progressed to an annual, month-long recognition on October 23, 1992, when President George H. W. Bush signed legislation into law. The month of May was chosen for two reasons: the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States on May 7, 1843, and the transcontinental railroad, mostly built by Chinese immigrant labor, was completed on May 10, 1869. The term, Asian-Pacific refers to a broad collection of ethnic groups across the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia (which includes the Hawaiian Islands).
Read more on our Heritage Month Guide.
Pop artist Keith Haring created a wide variety of public art, such as subway drawings of animals and human images and murals, including the first mural in a school yard on New York City's Lower East Side and a mural on the Berlin Wall. In 1987, he used his art to support campaigns for AIDS awareness and created the Keith Haring Foundation to contribute to a wide variety of social concerns.
Born with a kind of dwarfism called achondroplasia, Miller became a leader in the disability rights movement and an expert on anti-discrimination law. He was a graduate of Harvard Law School and became a law professor at the University of Washington School of Law. Miller was instrumental in writing the American With Disabilities Act of 1990. In 1999, President Clinton appointed him to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) where he served for almost 10 years. In 2009, he was chosen to serve as a special assistant to President Barack Obama. Miller worked to create federal laws protecting the privacy of people's genetic information.
Activist. Born in San Francisco, Del Martin was a founding member and first president of the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, the first social and political organization for lesbians in the United States. From 1960 to 1962, Martin was the editor of the organization's newsletter, The Ladder. In 1964 she helped found the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, which sought to end discriminatory laws against gays and lesbians.
Having grown up on Long Island and involved in conservative politics, Harvey Milk moved to San Francisco, became more liberal in his politics, and successfully ran for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. A strong advocate of gay rights, he and San Francisco's mayor, George Moscone, were shot to death by a former city supervisor who had recently resigned, but wanted his job back. In 2009 President Barack Obama awarded Harvey Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
Chosen as the best athlete of the first half of the century in an Associated Press poll, Jim Thorpe won the decathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games and went on to play professional baseball and then professional football, and to be named to the college and professional football Halls of Fame. Thorpe was forced to give up his Olympic medals when it was discovered that he had briefly played professional baseball, disqualifying him from competition as an amateur. This action was rescinded in 1983 by the International Olympic Committee, which retroactively recognized his amateur status and presented his heirs with duplicates of his medals.
The Trail of Tears was a series of forced relocations of Native American nations in the United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which was signed into law and supported by President Andrew Jackson. In the 1830s, approximately 125,000 Native Americans lived on millions of acres of land in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida—lands these Americans had lived on for generations. But white settlers wanted the land to grow cotton and other crops. The U.S. federal government forced the native occupants from their homelands to walk 1000 miles to what was called Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River (in the present state of Oklahoma).The Native American on this forced march suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route, and more than ten thousand died before reaching their various destinations. The phrase "Trail of Tears" originated from a description of the removal of the Choctaw Nation in 1831 (one Choctaw leader described the march as a “trail of tears and death”). Find more information on here.
Originally a day of remembrance for those who died for the Union in the Civil War, this national holiday, observed on the last Monday in May, now honors those who gave their lives in all wars involving the United States. (A number of southern states also have designated days for honoring the Confederate dead.) Many American families observe Memorial Day as a time for paying respects to deceased family members.
The entries for this calendar have been adapted from the Electronic Diversity Calendar (TM). Used with permission.
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