Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

September 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 September include National Deaf Awareness Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Autumnal Equinox, Semini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah.

National Deaf Awareness Month

While the timing of this month may vary by organization, several celebrate it in September because it encompasses International Week of Deaf People, an initiative by World Federation of the Deaf. Celebrated since 1958, its goals are to increase awareness around people with hearing loss and continue to find ways to support them through inclusive initiatives. Prior to 2021, September 20-26 was known as “International Week of the Deaf,” but this year it changed to its current name of International Week of Deaf People. Read More >>>


Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15)

Every year, the United States observes and celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. Originally started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, it was expanded to a full month 20 years later by Ronald Reagan. This month is all about celebrating the people, cultures, contributions, and history of Americans whose ancestors are from Spanish-speaking countries, including Central America, South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Spain.

The span of dates encompasses several important days within the Hispanic community:

  • September 15: Anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
  • September 16: Mexico’s independence day
  • September 18: Chile’s independence day
  • October 12: Día de la Raza (also known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day or Columbus Day). Spanish speaking countries, including Mexico, Ecuador, Uruguay, El Salvador, and more, celebrate October 12 as Dia de la Raza, or Day of the Race. It honors and celebrates the different countries and people conquered by turning the focus from the European explorers to the traditions and cultures destroyed by colonization.

Rosh Hashanah (September 6-8)

Translated to “head of the year,” Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It represents a time of renewal and divine atonement, where people attend High Holy Day services and feast both nights. Learn More >>>


Yom Kippur (September 15-16)

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish community and known as the Day of Atonement when the people are closest to God. It is recognized through fasting and spending time in prayer. Learn More >>>


Sukkot (September 20-27)

Starting five days after Yom Kippur, Sukkot is a week-long celebration named for the huts where Jewish people are supposed to live in during this time. As one of the three pilgrimage festival in the Jewish year, it represents how the Israelites lived during their 40 years in the wilderness. Learn More >>>


Autumnal Equinox (September 22)

Even though many of us are already in fall mode, the official start of the season happens Wednesday, September 22, when the Sun crosses the equator from north to south. Celebrations vary around the world and through cultures, and you can learn more about them here.


Shemini Atzeret (September 28) and Simchat Torah (September 29)

These days mark the end of Sukkot and mean “Eighth Day of Assembly” and “Rejoicing in the Torah,” respectively. In some cases, the celebrations are combined into one day. Learn more >>>


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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