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Diversity Calendar


Celebrate Diversity Month:

This designation was first celebrated in 2004 by ProGroup, a well-regarded diversity consulting firm in the United States. The idea was to set aside a month in which people could deepen their understanding of each other. One way to build connections with people we don't usually get the opportunity to know is to explore their cultural celebrations and significant life events. Out of these connections comes the energy to positively change our communities.

National Autism Awareness Month

First declared by the Autism Society in 1970, April has been established as a month to raise awareness and educate the public about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A complex developmental disorder, ASD affects a person's development of social and communication skills. One in 68 children are born with some type of the disorder, and 3.5 million Americans live with it. National Autism Society.

 

Read more on our Heritage Month Guide.

2. World Autism Day: International

The annual campaign to celebrate this day centers on “Light up with blue,” where landmarks, buildings, people’s homes, and also people put on the “blue” to support people with autism. 

4. Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson) (1928-2014): African American

Maya Angelou was a Renaissance woman whose versatility was reflected in the many roles she excelled in during her lifetime—poet, writer, journalist, actress, dancer, singer, educator, director, producer, and civil rights activist. Angelou is perhaps best known for her books of poetry and seven autobiographies, the first and most famous of which, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), is a highly personal account of her youth. Angelou expanded the genre of the autobiography by mixing techniques of fiction writing with autobiographical material, giving rise to the new genre “autobiographical fiction.” In 1960, after hearing Martin Luther King Jr. speak, she organized the Cabaret for Freedom to benefit the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), whereupon King asked her to serve as northern coordinator for the SCLC. Angelou helped Malcolm X build his Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) until his assassination in 1965. Maya Angelou received the country’s highest civilian honor when President Barack Obama named her a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.

8. Budda’s Birth: Buddhist

Siddhartha Gautama (c. 563-483 B.C.E.), became known as Buddha, or the "enlightened one." An Indian prince who left his family at the age of 29 to seek the truth of life, he spent years wandering, meditating, and denying self. He attained the enlightenment he sought at a place now called Buddha Gaya or Bodh Gaya. The religion he founded spread throughout central and Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and Korea, and later attracted followers in the West.

10-18. Passover: Jewish

Begins at sundown on the 10th and continues for eight days through sundown on the 18th. This observance celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Moses, one of the Israelites born into slavery, was raised in the Pharaoh’s household, banished as a young man for defending his people, but returned to Egypt to challenge the Pharaoh to grant his people freedom. Pharaoh finally released the Israelites but only after God sent 10 plagues, the last of which killed the eldest son of every Egyptian family, including that of the Pharaoh. The Israelites marked their doors so that the angel of death passed them by. With freedom finally granted, Moses led the Israelites through the desert for 40 years until they arrived in the land of Canaan, later to be known as Palestine. Passover commemorates freedom and new life.

13. Samuel Beckett (1906-1989): Irish

The winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature, Beckett is best known for his novels and plays in which characters are confronted with mysterious situations in bizarre, timeless settings. An avant-garde playwright of the “Theatre of the Absurd,” Beckett portrayed in his work his belief in the meaninglessness and absurdity of human existence. His most famous play, En attendant Godot (Waiting for Godot) (1953), is a tragicomedy in which the two main characters are doomed to face a bleak and purposeless existence as they wait in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot. Upon graduating from Trinity College in Dublin, he took a teaching job in Paris, where he would live the rest of his life and where he met and worked with fellow expatriate James Joyce. When Beckett returned briefly to Dublin in 1945, he had an epiphany that would change his life—rather than remain in the shadow of Joyce, who sought to understand and thereby control the world through knowledge, Beckett realized his “own way was in impoverishment, in lack of knowledge and in taking away, in subtracting rather than in adding.” This revelation, later recounted through the main character in his play Krapp’s Last Tape (1958), was a turning point in his life that forever changed the direction of his writing. From then on, Beckett shunned erudition and wrote from his own subjective, inner experience of the world. Beckett’s absurdist outlook and radical, experimental approach to writing would influence countless playwrights and authors and have a profound impact on twentieth-century literature.

14. Good Friday: Christian

This is the day Christians commemorate Jesus' crucifixion.

16. Easter: Christian

This day celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after he was crucified and died in Jerusalem. It is Jesus' suffering and death on the cross, often referred to as the "passion," followed by his resurrection that is central to Christian faith. Easter culminates the penitential period that starts with Ash Wednesday. Palm Sunday, which marks the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, occurs one week before Easter. Easter is a joyous holiday, since it marks for Christians the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy of the coming of the Messiah.

22. Earth Day: International

First celebrated in 1970 in the United States as a day to honor the Earth and call attention to environmental concerns, Earth Day is now celebrated internationally in more than 192 countries.

23. Laylat al-Miraj: Islamic

Known as the Night of the Ascension, this holiday commemorates one of the most important events in the history of Islam—the nighttime journey of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem where he ascended to heaven and was told by Allah of the Muslims’ duty to pray five times daily (Salat). Muslims observe this day by attending special prayer services at a mosque or reciting special evening prayers at home.

24. Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Hashoah): Jewish 

Designated by Israel's Knesset, or Parliament, this day serves as a memorial to the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis in their program of mass extermination of all Jews in Germany and the countries under German occupation. This program, building on long-standing anti-Semitism, began with arrests and imprisonment of Jews in the early 1930s and extended in the 1940s to forcing Jews into slave labor camps and extermination in death camps such as Treblinka, Sobibor, and Auschwitz.

26. Amelia "Amy" Cutsack Trice (1936-2011): American Indian (Kootenai)

Born in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, Trice was chair of the Kootenai tribal council and the first Native woman to declare the last official American Indian war on the U.S. government. Unlike other tribes, the Kootenai had never signed a treaty with the U.S. government forbidding them to declare war. The Kootenai had also never moved to a reservation because they believed in keeping the covenant to guard their aboriginal land in the Kootenai River Valley forever. However, by 1974 there were only 67 tribal members remaining, all of whom lived in poverty. To save her people from extinction, Trice contacted the Bureau of Indian Affairs for help but was turned away because her tribe was too small. Trice then issued an ultimatum to President Gerald Ford to send an emissary or the Idaho Kootenai would declare war, but President Ford never replied. So the Kootenai declared a nonviolent war on the U.S. government, setting up a roadblock by posting a tribal member on each end of U.S. Highway 95 in Bonners Ferry and asking people to pay a 10-cent toll to drive through what was once Kootenai land, in order to earn money to care for elderly tribal members. After a standoff, Trice led a delegation to Washington, D.C., to negotiate with the President, who eventually signed a resolution stating that the Kootenai tribe was now a federally recognized tribe and transferring 12.5 acres of federal land in northern Idaho to the tribe for a reservation, in addition to making concessions for housing and health. These events in Bonners Ferry in 1974 are chronicled in the 2008 documentary "Idaho's Forgotten War" by filmmaker Sonya Rosario.

29. Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare: United Nations

This day of remembrance was established in 2005 to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare and to “reaffirm the commitment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons, thereby promoting the goals of peace, security, and multilateralism.” The commemoration is held on the day on which the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997.

 

The entries for this calendar have been adapted from the Electronic Diversity Calendar (TM). Used with permission.

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