October Invitation to Honor and Value Diversity
As we reflect on Hispanic Heritage Month which came to an end yesterday (October 15), I wanted to provide an invitation to some other ways that we can remember, value and honor our diverse community this month. Before doing so, I would like to thank AULA, Adelante and Makarios for their leadership in putting together a wonderful month of activities, events and experiences for our community. I also hope that you will continue to engage with the rest of this month’s Filipino American History Month events that have been planned by AFIA.
In addition to these two important celebrations, October has some other important reminders to value and see others in our community as we learn more about their journey both in life and on our campus. Those vital opportunities include (but are not limited to):
- Global Diversity Awareness Month: This observance was created in 1999 in order to highlight the importance of expanding your reach beyond your own race, culture or ethnicity. It is meant to serve as a reminder that promotes open mindedness and valuing of differences. This includes intentional engagement with the international members of our community.
- National Disability Employment Awareness Month (“NDEAM”): This observance was launched in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” This movement was largely spurred by the return of physically disabled service members who returned from serving in World War II. Over time, the celebration and movement has grown to be inclusive of those with mental health challenges and other less visible disabilities. The annual event draws attention to employment barriers that still need to be addressed.
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month (“BCAM”): This observance was founded in 1985 by a coalition headed by the American Cancer Society. It is an annual international health campaign organized 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.
- LGBT History Month: This observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and the history of the gay rights movement. One of the ways that we try to care for members of our community who identify as LGBT+ is via our Haven care group. More information on Haven can be found here.
- National Indigenous Peoples Day & Canadian Thanksgiving (October 14): This year marked the first time that the State of Michigan observed October 14 as “National Indigenous Peoples Day.” In commemorating her declaration of this holiday, Governor Whitmer declared that the purpose of the celebration is “to uplift our country's indigenous roots, history and contributions.” Michigan is now one of 13 states who observe this holiday. There are an additional 60 American cities who recognize it. This date also corresponds with Canadian Thanksgiving, which is celebrated by Canadians around the world on the second Monday of October.
- Reformation Day (October 31): Celebrated by Protestants around the world to commemorate the spark of the Protestant Reformation movement over 500 years ago.
It is our hope that this invitation to recognize and honor the various members of our campus community in these specific ways gives all of you the opportunity to deepen your connection with and commitment to one another. While it is true that we are all on this journey together, we are all carrying different experiences with us along the way. Being seen and affirmed by our fellow community members goes a long way in helping us all to remember that we are not alone. It is our prayer that those who connect to any one of these observances on a personal level feel that Andrews is a place where their particular life experiences are seen, valued and respected by those around them.
We thank you in advance for taking the opportunity to engage with each other respectfully in each of these areas.