Happy New Year! Let’s start the year off right by highlighting some diversity dates you should be aware of in the month of January.
Also, keep up to date with our 2023 Interfaith calendar for this year.
January 1: Emancipation Proclamation
On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln declared all individuals held in slavery to be free. This was the start of slaves being freed in the U.S.; however, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 (now celebrated as Juneteenth) that slavery was ended across the Confederacy.
January 4: Louis Braille’s Birthday
Louis Braille created the popular tactile reading and writing system known as “braille.” The system has stood the test of time, and it has increased accessibility to the visually impaired. To celebrate, check out this fun song written in honor of Louis Braille’s life.
January 6: Feast of the Epiphany
On the 12th day of Christmas, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. They believe this is when the three wise men arrived to baby Jesus after following the star. Around the world, countries celebrate this by dressing up like the three wise men and decorating floats.
January 15: Makar Sankranti
Our January diversity calendar includes the Hindu festival dedicated to Surya, the god of the sun. Hindus celebrate this day by having morning prayer and then engaging in kite competitions. Consider flying a kite of your own this day!
Discover more interfaith celebrations with our 2023 Interfaith calendar
January 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Of all the days on this list, you’ve likely heard of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In the United States, it’s a federal holiday to celebrate one of the best-known American civil rights leaders. You can remember him by supporting Black-owned businesses or educating yourself on racial injustice.
Explore our latest article on changes in the DEI space, 2 years after George Floyd’s murder
January 22 – Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year is the beginning of a calendar year whose months are moon cycles. In East Asia and Southeast Asia, the Lunar New Year is a festival that marks this time. You may also hear it called the Chinese New Year in China. This multicultural celebration is celebrated by offering gifts to others in red envelopes, lighting fireworks and firecrackers, and putting up decorations.
January 27: International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust
The United Nations established this global holiday to remember the approximately 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Head to the library on this day and check out a book or two about World War II. If you have kids, helping them to develop knowledge about this history and enhancing their awareness of genocide and war can help raise compassionate leaders for the next generation.
January 29: Oprah Winfrey’s Birthday
Happy Birthday to the Queen of Media! Oprah became North America’s first Black billionaire after being a talk show host and philanthropist for decades. Consider selecting a book from Oprah’s Book Club that pertains to diversity matters.
That wraps up our January Diversity Calendar! Check back in with us for our February 2023 Diversity Calendar. Remaining up to date on diversity days will enrich your life and help you be a lifelong learner.
For more diversity topics, see our 2023 Diversity Calendar.