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.
Respectful scheduling – and celebrating inclusion – are among the benefits of diversity training in the workplace. Here are seven events during our January diversity and inclusion calendar:
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.