January is packed full of opportunities to celebrate influential people who shaped our country into a more accepting society. Bring in the new year by recognizing these great people, and share your pride in your own inclusion journey.
1/1 – Emancipation Proclamation Slaves were granted freedom in 1863
One of the most important January diversity events. January 1, 1863, changed the history of America. With an ongoing Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln gave rights to slaves, and proclaimed that they should be set free. While our country still struggles with race issues today, celebrating this stepping stone toward ending racism helps us connect with each other.
1/8 – Stephen Hawking Being disabled doesn’t have to stop you from reaching great heights
January diversity topics include people with disabilities. Stephen Hawking showed us that we all have different abilities and strengths, while sharing his great mind with the world. Not only was he a groundbreaking physicist, but his fundraising and research helped create worldwide change in the rights of disabled persons.
1/17 – Muhammad Ali Celebrate the life of an American Muslim
This January diversity day is an opportunity for religious inclusion. We called him “The Greatest” because it was true both inside the ring and out. Muhammad Ali fought his way to the top in his boxing career and used his influence to fight for the rights of all people. His Islamic duty of charity expanded to help disadvantaged people of every religion, and created a greater understanding of Muslim culture.
1/20 – Martin Luther King Jr Day National holiday celebrating pioneering leader in civil rights
The top January diversity celebration is Martin Luther King Jr Day, also called Civil Rights Day in some states across the nation, celebrates the life of one of the most influential Civil Rights activists. MLJK Jr paved the way for equality of all people, and inspires people of all backgrounds to work together to this day.
1/25 – Chinese New Year A three-day celebration ringing in the Year of the Rat
Key January multicultural holidays include Chinese New Year, a time for family, celebration, and new beginnings. Red envelope gifts of “lucky money” are given to children from elders to ward off evil spirits while entering the new year. In this digital age, many who celebrate are sending virtual luck money to family members across the sea. Recognizing Chinese New Year means bringing in luck and letting go of negativity from the last year, something we could all practice more.
1/26 – Ellen Degeneres turns 62 Leading influencer on public attitudes toward LGBTQ+ rights
Another January diversity topic is LGBTQ+ leaders. Ellen DeGeneres has been inspiring people to connect with each other and create a better understanding of LGBTQ+ rights since the late ‘90s. She uses her wide platform of followers to showcase amazing talent from around the world, and connects us all through comedy. Her coming out on television in 1997 sparked a trend of acceptance and empowered others to come out as well.
1/29 – Oprah Winfrey turns 66 Often ranked the world’s most influential woman
Concluding our January diversity month, is the birthday of Oprah Winfrey. She has been inspiring people to reach for their goals for decades. Coming from humble roots and growing up in poverty, she shows us that we all have the power to change our circumstances. She is not just a powerful Black American woman, but a powerhouse of influence to all people.
This is a popular new feature: all key events on one page, perfect for desktops, D&I pages and printing.
The full Online Diversity Calendar lists every diversity and inclusion event, averaging more than 150 events per month!
The new Month-at-a-Glance feature focuses the most important events, on one page. It’s perfect for
adding to your D&I page
You’ll find Month-at-a-Glance on the calendar navigation:
Because you can print and post your own diversity calendar, it’s like having a printed calendar – free – with your subscription.
Language translation is another awesome new feature included with subscriptions. With one click, you can enjoy the Online Diversity Calendar in virtually any language.
This is useful for global organizations, as well as showing respect to growing immigrant populations in many countries.
One of the most important facets of awareness and inclusions is dietary restrictions. This is particularly true with religions.
The Online Diversity Calendar now lists dietary considerations for the five major religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam. This is essential for respectful inclusion, whether at company events or on-site dining.
You’ll find dietary considerations in the index (see screenshot below), as well as via the dietary considerations icon on all events for major religions.
If you’re a subscriber, all these new features are live and included with your subscription.
Diversity months and heritage themes are one of the most powerful tools to instill awareness and inclusion. To help you, below you’ll find a list of 2020 diversity months.
Diversity and inclusion professionals face many challenges, from insufficient budget to C-suite support. But one of the greatest challenges of all is fostering awareness, respect and inclusion on an ongoing, daily basis.
Traditional diversity training can be highly effective and useful. But when given quarterly or annually – or perhaps just for new hires – inclusive concepts and behaviors often fade from memory, especially as time goes on.
In my conversations with diversity and inclusion leaders, one of the best ways to instill ongoing awareness and respect is through the promotion of diversity heritage months.
Some of the key diversity heritage months in 2020 include:
Black History Month – February
Women’s History Month – March
Celebrate Diversity Month – April
Older Americans Month – May
Jewish-American Heritage Month – May
Pacific-American Heritage – May
LGBT Pride Month – June
National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month – Sept. 15-Oct. 15
Diversity Awareness Month – October
National Disability Employment Awareness Month –October
Native American Heritage Month – November
There are powerful benefits to celebrating these heritage months in your workplace. First, it helps promote diversity an inclusion on an ongoing basis, throughout the year. Furthermore, heritage months helps recognize individual diversity groups, and specifically celebrate them, rather than simply promoting general diversity awareness.
So how do you celebrate heritage months, and leverage them to create more awareness and inclusion?
Diversity Calendar – first, be sure to offer a diversity calendar throughout you are organization. These calendars are available either online, or printed. Typically, a diversity calendar will feature a specific heritage as its monthly theme.
Employee Newsletters – in your newsletters to employees, be sure to feature these heritage months, as banners or graphics, and link to additional information on the topic.
Email Signature – every month, you’re likely sending thousands of emails. Each email is a great opportunity to foster awareness. In your email signature, include a link to this month’s featured heritage month.
D&I Portal – if your organization has a D&I portal on its website, add a banner celebrating the monthly diversity theme. If your organization does not have a portal, you need to add one…
Employee Events – at company events, you can feature the monthly diversity theme. A popular way to do this is with food recipes that might celebrate a particular culture. Our online diversity calendar features such recipes.
Printed Materials – in your office, have banners, posters and more that also highlight a particular diversity theme. Any piece of paper that is distributed to your employees – from memos to paychecks – provides an opportunity to instill awareness.
Training for diversity and inclusion is essential for a harmonious, productive workplace in the 21st century. And inclusion is most effective when instilled throughout the year, rather than just at on-off trainings.
According to a Harvard University study, diversity initiatives don’t work unless awareness and inclusion is a daily practice. Being aware of ethnic holidays is key for respectful scheduling and creating inclusion, 365 days a year.
October heralds the wonderful colors of autumn. That makes October an ideal time to better see – and appreciate – our colorful differences and similarities. Indeed, there are three major October diversity month themes below.
To help you, here are 7 multicultural events in October 2019. These diversity holidays might respectful scheduling – such as Yom Kippur. Others offer an opportunity to give a shout out to diverse groups, ranging from LGBTQ+ to people with disabilities. Check out our Online Diversity Calendar™ to see all upcoming 2019 diversity holidays and get inclusion tips for your employees.
October 2019: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also called National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the USA, is an annual international health campaign. It’s promoted by major breast cancer charities every October, to increase awareness of the disease, and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.
Another October diversity event in 2019 is Global Diversity Awareness Month. Global diversity awareness focuses on understanding differing cultural perspectives, and valuing the diverse perspectives of all people from all places. Fueled by the belief that workforce diversity is a major business advantage, global diversity awareness promotes cultural diversity training and an inclusive global environment.
October 9, 2019 – Jewish : Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
A key October multicultural holiday is Yom Kippur. The ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance. During this time Jews are to remind themselves of their sins, and seek forgiveness for their wrongdoings. Many Jews observe Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday, by taking no food or water from sundown the day before through sundown the following day. It is also common for Jews not to work the night before or day of Yom Kippur. For more religious holidays, see our 2020 Interfaith Calendar
October 10 – People with Disabilities : World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. The federation is a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries. Every October 10, advocates promote this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness, as well as promote workplace wellness training .
October 11 – LGBTQ+ : National Coming Out Day/March on Washington
The key LGBTQ+ diversity event in October. On this day in 1987, saw the largest gay and lesbian gathering in history, with estimates ranging from 200,000 to 600,000 protestors. The crowd protested anti-gay discrimination, and demanded a stronger government response to the AIDS crisis.
October 27, 2019 – Hindu : Diwali
A major October diversity holiday, Diwali is one of the most important annual festivals in the Hindu religion. Lasting five days, Diwali encompasses a variety of festivals, celebrating various gods and goddesses, and events in their lives. Since Diwali is a ‘festival of lights,’ candles are an appropriate gift.
National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15-October 15
Leading our September multicultural calendar is National Hispanic Heritage Month. Launched in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week, the celebration includes September 15 and 16, the independence days for Central American nations and Mexico, respectively. In 1988, the period was expanded to National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Each year the National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers and the Hispanic Foundation select a theme for the month, and commission a poster to reflect that theme. An important part of respecting Hispanics is being aware of communication differences, as explored in this training video on cross cultural communication.
This Hindu festival is a key diversity holiday in Sept. 2019. It’s celebrated in honour of the elephant-headed god, Ganesha, usually in August or September. The festival generally lasts ten days, and is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi. For more religious holidays, see our 2020 Interfaith Calendar
September 16 – Mexico : Independence Day (El Día de Independencia)
On September 16, 1810, in the town of Dolores in the province of Guanajuato, a handful of people were summoned by a parish priest to take up arms against the Spanish colonial government. This began the fight for independence that ended 350 years of Spanish rule. Celebrated by people of Mexican origin throughout the world, this is a day when Mexican Americans often hang Mexican flags at their homes.
September 20 – Black American : Ursula Burns
‘I’m a black lady from the Lower East Side of New York. Not a lot intimidates me. Believe that there are no limitations, no barriers to your success — you will be empowered and you will achieve.’ -Ursula Burns
Diversity events include the birthdays of diversity leaders, such as Ursula M. Burns (September 20, 1958 – ). Burns is an American business executive, and the first black woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company. In 2014, Forbes rated her the 22nd most powerful woman in the world.
September 20 – Women : HeForShe
HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for the advancement of gender equality, initiated by the United Nations. Founded on September 20th, 2014, it’s backed by a number of celebrities, notably actress Emma Watson.
Its goal is to achieve equality by encouraging all genders as agents of change and take action against negative stereotypes and behaviors, faced by people with feminine personalities/genders. Sexual harassment prevention training is key to gender equality.
September 25 – People with Disabilities : Christopher Reeve (1952-2004)
Christopher Reeve was an actor, including starring in the hist Superman, as well as acting in 17 feature films, a dozen TV movies, and more than 150 plays. His career was cut short after an equestrian accident. Reeve landed head first, fracturing the uppermost vertebrae in his spine, instantly paralyzing him from the neck down. After a grueling effort to regain his ability to breathe and speak, Reeve became an advocate for research on healing spinal cord injuries. He became Chairman of the American Paralysis Association and Vice Chairman of the National Organization on Disability. He also became a national spokesperson for and raised funds in support of stem cell research.
September 30, 2019 – Jewish : Rosh Hashanah (New Year) (9/30-10/1)
Rounding out our September 2019 diversity calendar is Rosh Hashanah. Like most Jewish holidays, it begins at sundown the evening before the first (full) day of the holiday. Rosh Hashanah signifies the beginning of the Days of Awe, a period of serious reflection about the past year and the year to come. This period, which continues until Yom Kippur, is a time for asking forgiveness from both God and other people, and committing oneself to live a better life in the year to come.
“The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.” -Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II (1961- ) is an American politician who served as the 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. He was the first Black American to assume the presidency. Obama promoted inclusiveness for LGBT Americans. His administration filed briefs that urged the Supreme Court to strike down same-sex marriage bans as unconstitutional (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges). Obama left office in January 2017 with a 60% approval rating and currently resides in Washington, D.C.
August 9, 2019 – United Nations : International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
First proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly in 1994, this is a day to celebrate the unique cultures of indigenous peoples around the world.
August 10, 2019 – Islamic : The Hajj (8/10-8/14)
The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. All Muslims who are able are required to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. The Hajj is a time for reflection and celebration, when more than two million Muslims from around the world gather together to celebrate their faith. The culmination of the Hajj is the three-day festival of Eid al-Adha (The Feast of Sacrifice), the most important feast of the Muslim calendar.
August 24, 2019 – People with Disabilities : Marlee Matlin
‘It was ability that mattered, not disability, which is a word I’m not crazy about using.’ -Marlee Matlin
Marlee Beth Matlin (born August 24, 1965) is an American actress, author and activist. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Children of a Lesser God, to date the only deaf performer to have won the award. Matlin is a prominent member of the National Association of the Deaf. In recognition of her philanthropic work and her advocacy for the inclusion of people with disabilities, Matlin received the 2016 Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion, given to one individual whose work excels at promoting disability inclusion.
August 26, 2019 – Italian American : Geraldine Ferraro (1935-2011)
Lawyer and politician. Ferraro was the first woman and the first Italian American to run on a major party national ticket. In 1984, she ran as Walter Mondale’s vice presidential running mate on the Democratic Party ticket in the presidential election. She served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights under the Clinton Administration. Ferraro was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994.
August 26, 2019 – United States : Women’s Equality Day
A law passed by Congress in 1974 sets this day aside to mark the certification in 1920 of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The 19th Amendment prohibits discrimination in voting based on gender.
August 31, 2019 – Islamic : Islamic New Year (Hijri)
This begins the first day of Muharram of the new year 1441 based on the Islamic lunar calendar. Recognizing the festival/holiday: any sweet dessert is an appropriate gift. Muslims do not drink alcoholic beverages.
July is the peak of summer, and thus a great time for a sunny celebration of diversity. That makes July a wonderful time to be more aware – and appreciative – of our wonderful differences and similarities.
To help you, here are 7 multicultural events and holidays in July 2019, from our Online Diversity Calendar. These provide a terrific opportunity to say “we’re different and – together – we are awesome.”
July 2 – Black American : Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993)
Civil rights leader and Supreme Court justice. Marshall was head of the legal services division of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 1938 to 1962. He thus led the legal effort to advance the civil rights of all Americans, particularly those belonging to minority groups. His most famous victory was the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, which ended racial segregation in public schools.
July 6 – Mexican : Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
Painter. Kahlo was born in the outskirts of Mexico City three years before the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. She was one of the most individualistic painters of the first half of the twentieth century. Known for her distinctive self-portraits filled with rich colors and symbolic imagery, Kahlo expressed in form and color her innermost feelings and states of mind.
July 6 – Tibetan : 14th Dalai Lama (1935 – )
The 14th Dalai Lama, born 6 July 1935, is the current Dalai Lama. He assumed full temporal (political) duties on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, after the People’s Republic of China’s invasion of Tibet. During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he currently lives as a refugee. The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He has traveled the world and spoken about many topics. Although in exile from his home in Tibet, he remains a prominent political figure for the people of Tibet.
July 14, 2019 – France : Bastille Day
This celebrates the fall of the Bastille prison, marking the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. The revolution led to the end of monarchial rule and the creation of a French Republic. Given their French heritage, many Louisiana ‘parishes,’ hold Bastille Day festivals featuring Cajun food, music, and dance. These include New Orleans and Kaplan, sometimes called ‘the most Cajun place on earth.’
July 18 – United Nations : Nelson Mandela International Day
In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared Nelson Mandela’s birthday, July 18, to be Nelson Mandela International Day. The UN made the declaration, in recognition of his humanitarian achievements, and his contribution to racial reconciliation, democracy, and peace throughout the world.
July 20 – People with Disabilities: First Special Olympics Games (1968)
On this date in 1968, the first Special Olympics opened at Soldier Field in Chicago. Founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, it’s an athletic competition for children and adults with cognitive disabilities. The competitions are held every two years, alternating between summer and winter games. The World Summer Games are held in the year before the regular Olympics. For more information, see our disability awareness training videos.
July 26 – People with Disabilities: Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
Signed into law on this date, the ADA is a milestone of U.S. civil rights legislation. It protects people with disabilities from discrimination in the areas of employment, transportation, and public accommodation. The law requires a wide range of public and private establishments to make new and renovated facilities accessible to people with disabilities, and ‘readily achievable’ changes to existing facilities in order to increase accessibility.
June brings the colors of summer, and thus it’s a great time to celebrate a rainbow of diversity. That makes it an ideal time to better see – and appreciate – our wonderful differences and similarities.
To help you, here are 7 diversity holidays in June 2019, from our Online Diversity Calendar. These events need respectful scheduling – or just give the chance to shout out to specific diversity groups.
On June 11, 1999, President William J. Clinton issued a presidential proclamation designating June as LGBT Pride Month. The date marked the 30th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and the birth of the modern LGBT civil rights movement. Every year, an International Pride Theme is chosen at the InterPrice Annual Conference. Be sure to view Anyone Can Be an Ally, our most popular LGBT training video.
June 2 – United States : Granting of Citizenship to Native Americans (1924)
On this day, Congress extended the rights of citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States. Previously, only part of the Native American population had been granted citizenship through treaties, statutes, naturalization, and service in the armed forces.
June 3 – LGBTQ+ : Anderson Cooper
“I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”
Anderson Hays Cooper (June 3, 1967 – ) is an American journalist, television personality, and author. Cooper is openly gay; according to The New York Times, he is ‘the most prominent openly-gay journalist on American television.’ Apple CEO Tim Cook turned to Cooper for advice before he subsequently made the decision to publicly come out as gay.
June 9, 2019 – United States : Puerto Rican Day Parade
Since 1958, New York and other major cities have held parades on the second Sunday in June to celebrate the contributions of the Puerto Rican people to history. The parades feature floats, singers, and dancers in colorful costumes. They’re similar to St. Patrick’s Day, Italian, and Polish parades that have been held for decades in cities throughout the country.
June 19 – Black American : Juneteenth
This commemorates the emancipation of all slaves in Texas by the Union general Gordon Grange. As news of the Emancipation Proclamation issued in January moved westward, he announced on this day that, ‘The people of Texas are informed that in accord with a Proclamation of the Executive of the United States all slaves are free . . . .’ This is a time for various celebrations in African-American communities, including speeches, rallies, and displays of art and music. For more information, visit Juneteenth.
June 25 – Hispanic American : Sonia Sotomayor
‘In every position that I’ve been in, there have been naysayers who don’t believe I’m qualified or who don’t believe I can do the work. And I feel a special responsibility to prove them wrong.’
Sonia Maria Sotomayor (born June 25, 1954) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. She is the Supreme Court’s first justice of Hispanic descent, first Latina and third woman.
June 27 – People with Disabilities : Helen Keller (1880-1968)
“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”
– Helen Keller
Author and educator. Left deaf and blind by illness at the age of 19 months, Helen Keller learned to speak and then to read and write Braille with the help of her remarkable teacher, Annie Sullivan. After graduating cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1904, she devoted her life to writing and social activism, particularly in aid of people with one or both of her disabilities. Her extraordinary achievements made her an international heroine and an inspiration to millions.
May is a time of warmth, and thus a great time to have greater awareness – and appreciation – of diversity at home and worldwide.
To help you, here are 7 multicultural events and diversity holidays in May 2019. Some – such as Ramadan – require respectful scheduling, while others are simply provide a great opportunity to celebrate specific diversity groups and say – we appreciate and include you!
Our May 2019 diversity calendar features 4 month-long themes, including Mental Health Awareness Month. Also referred to as Mental Health Month, it’s been observed in May in the United States since 1949. The campaign reaches millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings. To promote mental health in your workplace, check out our workplace wellness videos.
Older Americans Month
Older Americans Month was established by presidential proclamation to honor the contributions of older Americans to society. For more information, visit the Older Americans Month website
Jewish American Heritage Month
May multicultural events include Jewish American Heritage Month. On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush issued a presidential proclamation designating this annual theme. In his proclamation, the president said, ‘During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate the rich history of the Jewish people in America and honor the great contributions they have made to our country. As a nation of immigrants, the United States is better and stronger because Jewish people from all over the world have chosen to become American citizens.”
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month began in 1979 as Asian Heritage Week, established by congressional proclamation. On October 23, 1992, President George H. W. Bush signed legislation into law that made May of each year Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
May 4 – LGBTQ+ : Keith Haring (1959-1990)
Pop artist. Haring created a wide variety of public art, such as subway drawings of animals and human images and murals. His work ranged from the first mural in a school yard on New York City’s Lower East Side, to a mural on the Berlin Wall. Haring also created designs for performances and for Swatch watches. 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. To boost LGBTQ+ inclusion in your workplace, check out the Anyone Can Be an Ally video.
May 6, 2019 – Islamic : Ramadan (5/6-6/4)
One of the key diversity holidays for May 2019. This begins the first day of the Islamic month of Ramadan, a month of fasting and the holiest month of the Muslim year. The fast of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and mandatory for every Muslim who has reached puberty except those who are ill, pregnant, or on a journey. During this month, no water or food may be taken from sunrise to sunset. Before inviting someone to lunch or hosting a meal, check to see whether the invitee is observing the fast for this period. To see all upcoming religious holidays, see our online diversity calendar.
May 13 – Black American : Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Morris (born Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950) is better known by his stage name, Stevie Wonder. One of the most critically and commercially successful musicians of the late 20th century, he’s been blind since shortly after birth. Wonder has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. He has recorded more than 30 U.S. top ten hits and received 25 Grammy Awards, one of the most-awarded male solo artists.