Office of Multicultural Affairs

Celebrations of Awareness and Recognition

World Braille Day:
This day celebrates the Braille writing system created by Louis Braille for visually impaired individuals and explores the issues affecting the blind.

African American History Month:
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American author and scholar established Negro History Week in 1926.  Dr. Woodson selected February to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans because the month marks the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation and Frederick Douglas, an African American abolitionist.  The celebration became known as Black History Week in 1972 and turned into a month long celebration in 1976.

National Women's History Month:
March was established by presidential proclamation as Women's History Month to draw attention to the accomplishments of women in the past and present.

Mental Retardation Awareness Month:
National Mental Retardation Awareness Month promotes public awareness of developmental disabilities concerning issues and ability of persons with mental retardation.

Irish-American Heritage Month:
is a special proclamation issued yearly by the US President or Congress to recognize and honor the contributions and achievements of Irish Americans.

Deaf History Month:
From March 13 through April 15 celebrate the milestones of hearing impaired persons and their contributions to American society is celebrated.

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month:
This month of recognition began in 1979 as Asian Heritage Week, established by congressional proclamation. On October 23, 1992, President George Bush signed legislation that made May of each year officially Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

Older Americans Month:
Established by presidential proclamation, Older Americans Month was created to honor the contributions of older Americans to society.

Cinco de Mayo, Mexico:
Mexicans and Mexican Americans celebrate the triumph of Mexican forces over the French army in Mexico on May 5, 1862.

Gay and Lesbian Pride Month:
On June 11, 1999, President Clinton issued a presidential proclamation designating June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

This commemorates the official end of slavery in Texas by the Union General Gordon Grange.

During August, the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation highlights the support needed to find a cure. This disease is one of the most common genetic disorders in our country which affects one out of every 6,000 births.

National Hispanic Heritage Month:
The contributions of Hispanics nationwide are celebrated September 15 through October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage month. The national celebration began in 1968 as a week long celebration during the second week in September and was later expanded to a month long celebration in 1989.

National Coming Out Day/March on Washington:
On October 11, 1987 between 200,000 and 600,000 people participated in a march in Washington, D.C. to protest anti-gay discrimination.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month:
The month of October was set aside for National Disability Employment Awareness to enlist public support for people with disabilities and to encourage their full integration into the workforce.

National Native American Heritage Month:
The term Native American incorporates hundreds of different tribes and approximately 250 languages. Starting in 1976 as Native American Awareness Week, the period was expanded by Congress and approved by President Bush in August 1990 by designating the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month.

Human Rights Month:
On December 8, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which set forth the basic civil, economic, political, and social rights that should be afforded to all people.

Kwanzaa, celebrated Dec. 26 - Jan. 1 is an African American holiday that was developed and initiated by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966.  Kwanzaa is a Swahili term that means "first fruits of the harvest." The focus of Kwanzaa is around the seven principles of Nguzo Saba which focuses on the social values in the African American community. The seven principles are listed below.
Kujichagulia (self determination)
Ujima (collective work and responsibility)
Ujamaa (cooperative economics)
Nia (purpose)
Kuumba (creativity)
Imani (faith)