DEI Celebration Resources

In the United States, there are a number of celebrations held each month to acknowledge various historic events and figures from ethnic and marginalized groups. These celebrations serve as an opportunity to educate others on the contributions of various individuals and communities to U.S. History. At Cornell, we've created this page to recognize some of the events that are celebrated with resources and information on how to celebrate each month.

Zoom visual for LGBTQ+ Pride MonthZoom Background in honor of JuneteenthZoom Background in honor of Caribbean American Heritage Month

 

 

Zoom Background visual in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

History

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday that takes place on the third Monday of each January. This day was established in honor of Baptist minister and social justice activist Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. who was assassinated in 1968. King was the first modern private citizen to be honored with a federal holiday and his legacy continues to inspire millions of people around the world.

Resources

Upcoming Events

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Zoom background visual for Black History Month with kente cloth only

History

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.

Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.

The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States.

[Source: History.com]

Cornell Resources

Additional Resources

Upcoming Events

  • February 1- 28: Join Cornell Wellness throughout the month of February as they celebrate the culture and traditions of our African-American brothers and sisters. Register to get emails with interviews of the day sent directly to you and to receive trivia questions that relate to persons who have had positive impacts on Black History with links to detailed bios of that individual. Please feel free to visit the Celebration of Black History Month webpage to view all content released.
  • Friday, February 26 from 3:30-5:00 PM: Cornell University Library presents "Any librarian…Any study? : Conversations on Being Black and a Librarian at Cornell University Library, Past Present, and Future." Register for this event today!
  • Monday, March 1 at 7:00 PM: Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Event- A virtual conversation featuring Ijeoma Oluo. Join them in a conversation with Ijeoma Oluo as they explore racism in the U.S. and consider how to engage in productive anti-racist action. For more information and to register for this event, visit https://scl.cornell.edu/MLKLecture
  • Thursday, March 4 at 1:00 PM: eCornell will be hosting special guest Jeremy Stewart from Cornell Wellness in an informal Celebration Conversation about his Black History Month project. They will discuss takeaways from his series of interviews with Cornell staff. Register today!

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The image below includes the following individuals starting from left to right, top row: Toni Morrison, President Barack Obama, Madam C.J. Walker, Malcom X, Harriet Tubman, James Baldwin, Ida B. Wells, Muhammad Ali, and Nina Simone.

Left to right, bottom row: Representative John Lewis, Beyoncé, Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Frederick Douglass, Shirley Chisholm, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Maya Angelou, and Nelson Mandela.

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Zoom background visual for Black History Month with kente cloth and 18 cultural and historical figures in front of cloth
Zoom image for Women's History Month with women of different racial/ethnic backgrounds and gender expressions.

History

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.

[Source: Women's History Month.gov]

Cornell Resources

Additional Resources

Upcoming Events

  • Monday, March 8 from 7:00-8:30 PM: Join the National Women's History Museum for a special two-part screening of And She Could Be Next, POV’s first broadcast miniseries, in honor of International Women's Day, March 8th. And She Could Be Next tells the story of a defiant group of women of color—candidates and organizers—who are transforming politics from the ground up. Register for part one by clicking here.
  • Monday, March 15 from 7:00-8:30 PM: Join the National Women's History Museum for a special two-part screening of And She Could Be Next, POV’s first broadcast miniseries, in honor of International Women's Day, March 8th. And She Could Be Next tells the story of a defiant group of women of color—candidates and organizers—who are transforming politics from the ground up. Register for part two by clicking here.
  • Monday, March 24 from 12:00-1:00 PM: Join the National Women's History Museum and illustrator Marissa Valdez for a very special Brave Girls Virtual Storytime reading of author Meena Harris' Ambitious Girl. Written by author Meena Harris (Vice President Kamala Harris' niece) and illustrated by Marissa Valdez, Ambitious Girl tells the story of discovery through past, present, and future about the challenges faced by women and girls and the ways in which they can reframe, redefine, and reclaim words meant to knock them down. Registration is required.

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Zoom background visual in honor of César Chávez Day on March 31

History

César Chávez was born on March 31st 1927, in Yuma, Arizona. His family had moved to Northern California to work as migrant farm workers after losing their land in the great depression.

He served in the US navy for two years at the end of the Second World War, returning to work on farms until 1952, when he became involved with the Community Service Organization, a Latino civil rights group, rising to become its national director by 1958.

In 1962, Chávez became a cofounder of the National Farm Workers' Association (now the United Farm Workers). In this new role, he became the best known Latino American civil rights activist. Leading the struggle for better rights for farm workers, his aggressive but nonviolent tactics made the farm workers' struggle a moral cause with wide support. His also gained national awareness as he went on several hunger strikes to highlight his campaigns.

Chávez died on April 23rd 1993 of unspecified natural causes, with some believing that his death may have been caused in part by his hunger strikes.

César Chávez Day is always celebrated on his birthday, March 31st. President Barack Obama declared César Chávez Day a national holiday in 2014.

It is not a federal holiday, but is a state holiday in California. It is either an optional or commemorative day in nine other states - Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Rhode Island.

California, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin observe César Chávez Day by closing schools and state offices.

[Source: Office Holidays.com]

Cornell Resources

Resources

Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, March 25- Wednesday, March 31 is National Farmworker Awareness Week: A week of actions for students and community members to honor farmworkers' important contributions and to raise awareness about the issues they face. Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) coordinates the week by providing training, support, and resources to partners across the country to organize actions on college campuses and in local communities. 
  • Wednesday, April 14 from 6-7:30 PM EST: Vet Allies for Farmworkers Workshop- In this event, Mary Jo Dudley from the Cornell Farmworker program will be speaking to the Cornell CVM community about the hardships farmworkers face in the agricultural sector and how veterinarians can become better allies for this community. Her presentation will be followed by a discussion on this topic with Dairy veterinarians that work with this community on a daily basis. Register by logging in to CampusGroups and RSVP to the event.

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Zoom background for Celebrate Diversity Month

History

April is Celebrate Diversity Month, 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.

[Source: Diversity Best Practices]

Resources

Upcoming Events

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Zoom background (plain) visual in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

History

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. In 1977 Reps. Frank Horton of New York introduced House Joint Resolution 540 to proclaim the first ten days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week. In the same year, Senator Daniel Inouye introduced a similar resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 72. Neither of these resolutions passed, so in June 1978, Rep. Horton introduced House Joint Resolution 1007. This resolution proposed that the President should “proclaim a week, which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month, during the first ten days in May of 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978 to become Public Law 95-419 (PDF, 158kb). This law amended the original language of the bill and directed the President to issue a proclamation for the “7 day period beginning on May 4, 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 (PDF, 166kb) which expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 (PDF, 285kb) which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

[Source: asianpacificheritage.gov]

Cornell Resources

Additional Resources

Upcoming Events

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The image below includes the following individuals starting from left to right, top row: Tan France, Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink, Tammy Duckworth, Philip Vera Cruz, Yuji Ichioka, Margaret Cho, Sammy Lee, Pryanka Chopra, Yo-Yo Ma

Left to right, bottom row: Kalpana Chawla, Haing S. Ngor, I.M. Pei, Joyce Chen, Dalip Singh Saund, Jerry Yang, Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, Duke Kahanamoku, Anna May Wong

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Zoom background (historical and cultural figures) visual in honor of American Pacific Heritage Month
Zoom background with rainbow display for LGBTQ+ Pride Month

History

Pride Month commemorates years of struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice under the law for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, as well as the accomplishments of LGBTQ individuals. But why is Pride Month celebrated in June?

The organized pursuit of gay rights in the United States reaches back to at least 1924 and the founding of the Society of Human Rights in Chicago by Henry Gerber. But the event that catalyzed the gay rights movement came in June 1969 in New York City’s Greenwich Village, at the Stonewall Inn. In the early morning hours of June 28, police raided this popular gathering place for young gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people—arresting the employees for selling liquor without a license, roughing up many of the patrons, and clearing the bar. Outside, the crowd that watched the bar’s patrons being herded into police vans became enraged. Whereas previous witnesses to police harassment of members of the LGBTQ community had stood by passively, this time the crowd jeered the police and threw coins and debris at them, forcing the police to barricade themselves in the bar to await backup. Meanwhile, some 400 people rioted. Although police reinforcements dispersed the crowd, riots waned and waxed outside the bar for the next five days, and these Stonewall riots (also called the Stonewall uprising) provided the spark that ignited the gay rights movement in the United States.

[Source: Britannica.com]

Cornell Resources

Resources

Upcoming Events

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Zoom background with red, black, and green African diaspora colors in honor of Juneteenth

History

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

[Source: Juneteenth.com]

Resources

Upcoming Events

  • June 18-20: Juneteenth 2021 in New York City
  • June 19: Juneteenth 2021 in Albany, NY at the African American Cultural Center of the Capital District

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Zoom background (plain) in honor of Caribbean American Heritage Month

History

Caribbean immigrants have been contributing to the well-being of American society since its founding. Alexander Hamilton, the First Secretary of the Treasury was from the Caribbean island of Nevis. We count among our famous sons and daughters, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Cicely Tyson, W.E.B Dubois, James Weldon Johnson, Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier to name a few. [The Institute for Caribbean Studies, also known as ICS',] effort began in 1999 with a petition to President Bill Clinton for the recognition of a Caribbean American Heritage Month.

In 2000, ICS began leading activities in celebration of June as Caribbean American Heritage Month in Washington DC, building on efforts started by a now defunct ad-hoc group of Washington DC residents to have a Caribbean Heritage Month designated in Washington DC in 1999.

The official campaign for a National Caribbean American Heritage Month began in 2004 when a legislative bill was tabled in Congress by Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Language was provided by ICS Founder and President Dr. Claire Nelson. The Bill was reintroduced and passed the House in June 2005 and the Senate in February 2006. A Proclamation making the resolution official was signed by President George W. Bush on June 5, 2006.

[Source: Institute of Caribbean Studies]

Resources

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Left to right, bottom row: Rihanna, Marc Anthony, Audre Lorde, Shirly Chisholm, James Weldon Johnson, Marcus Garvey, Celia Cruz, Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte.

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Zoom background (cultural and historical figures) in honor of Caribbean American Heritage Month
Zoom background in honor of Disability Independence Day

Coming Soon! July 1.

Zoom background in honor of Women's Equality Day

Coming Soon! August 1.

Coming Soon! September 1.

Zoom background in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Coming Soon! October 1.

Coming Soon! October 1.

Coming Soon! November 1.

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Coming Soon! November 1.

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Coming Soon! December 1.