Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

May 2021 DEI Celebrations Round-Up

On behalf of the GSWNY Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee, every month we’re highlighting different holidays and events that are celebrated by people around the world. DEI Celebrations in May include Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; Older Americans Month; Jewish American Heritage Month; Mental Health Awareness Month; Orthodox Easter; Mother’s Day; the end of Ramadan; Eid al-Fitr; and Memorial Day.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

In the United States, this month is designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to recognize the impact and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans on our history, achievements, and culture. May was selected to mark the first Japanese to immigrate to the US in May of 1843 and then the completion of the transcontinental railroad, primarily built by Chinese immigrants, on May 10, 1869.

Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) includes the entire continent of Asia as well as the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Learn more >>>

Note: GSWNY acknowledges and condemns the recent surge in violence against the Asian community across the country. We uplift and amplify the Asian American Federation’s statement with Asian, Black, and Hispanic Association nonprofits condemning attacks and calling for solutions. We want to reiterate to all girls, volunteers, alums, supporters, families, and staff that we do not tolerate racial injustice, and we strive to create a welcoming space where all of our members feel they belong. Girl Scout members stand up and for the principles of the Girl Scout mission and law. You can find resources from the Asian American Federation here.

Older Americans Month

Established in 1963, Older Americans Month reminds us to recognize the contributions of current and past older persons, including those who have defended our country. It began with the acknowledgment that more needed to be done to meet the needs of older Americans. At the time, less than 20 million Americans reached age 65, and around a third were living in poverty. Members of the National Council of Senior Citizens met with President John F. Kennedy in April of 1963, and their conversations led to the creation of the awareness month. Read More >>>

Jewish American Heritage Month

This May marks the 15th official year of Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). Proclaimed into being by President George W. Bush in April 2006, JAHM is the annual time to celebrate and recognize the contributions and achievements by the American Jewish community. Programs and activities are designed to educate the public about their influence on our heritage, history, and culture. Read More >>>

Mental Health Awareness Month

This month is a reminder that millions of Americans live with mental illness. Organizations attempt to educate the public about the different aspects of mental health, break down the stigmas against mental illness, and support all those with mental illnesses and their families. For 2021, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is focusing on the message that you are not alone. Read More >>>

If you are in crisis or you think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). If you are located outside the United States, call your local emergency line immediately. (Disclaimer language from ADAA)

Orthodox Easter

For many people, the 2021 Easter holiday happened in April, but for Orthodox churches, this year it’s happening Sunday, May 2. The difference in dates comes down to the use of calendars. Many western countries use the Gregorian calendar which is used for the selection of Easter. The date of Orthodox Easter, however, is determined by the Julian calendar and typically occurs after. While the reason for the celebration remains the same, Orthodox churches have their own traditions. Read More >>>

Mother’s Day

Celebrations for mothers have been happening for thousands of years around the world. In the United States, the official Mother’s Day holiday was established in 1914 by Anna Jarvis to recognize the sacrifices mothers make for their children. Traditional celebrations include flowers and visiting your mother. Read More >>>

While the name is Mother’s Day, we know that not all “moms” follow the traditional format. We encourage you to celebrate all your moms out there, whether they’re your aunts, grandmothers, sisters, or friends.


Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and viewed as the most sacred. According to the Prophet Mohammed, Ramadan sees the gates of Heaven opened while the devils are chained in a locked Hell. It was during Ramadan that God first revealed the beginning of the Quran to Mohammed during the Night of Power.

Muslims who observe Ramadan will spend every day, from dawn until sunset, fasting as it is a time of spiritual discipline where they can examine their relationship with God and strengthen their faith. But it is not necessarily a somber time, despite the fasting. Instead, this is a time of joy that is meant to celebrated with families and loved ones. Learn more about Ramadan >>>

Eid al-Fitr

Arabic for “Festival of Breaking Fast,” Eid al-Fitr is one of two Islamic canonical festivals. This one marks the end of Ramadan and is held during the beginning of the 10th month of the Islamic calendar known as Shawwal. Muslims celebrate by visiting friends and families, holding official receptions, giving presents, visiting graves, and wearing new clothes. Read More >>>

Memorial Day

The last Monday in May in the United States is Memorial Day, where we remember all those who lost their life during military duty. Parades are held to honor these heroes and many go to cemeteries to stick flags or flowers on graves. Girl Scouts have a long history of participating in such events. View photos from Memorial Day 2019 >>>

The Celebrations Subcommittee of GSWNY’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee strives to include as many cultural and religious holidays as possible every month. If we’re missing something, or misrepresenting a holiday, please let us know by emailing communications@gswny.org.

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