Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

November 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 November include Native American Heritage Month, Day of the Dead, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and the start of Hanukkah.


Native American Heritage Month

The history of an established Native American Heritage Month goes back to the beginning of the 20th century and the work of a few to recognize the contributions made by the first Americans. The efforts of Dr. Arthur C. Parker, director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester and a Seneca Indian, led to the creation of a “First Americans” day that was celebrated for three years.

Efforts continued around the country, with New York being the first state to declare “American Indian Day” in 1916. Other states followed and by 1990, November was designated as Native American Heritage Month in a proclamation by President George H. W. Bush.

The Girl Scout Native American Heritage Celebration Fun Patch is designed for Girl Scouts of all levels and their leaders, to celebrate and honor the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native people, and to acknowledge the many contributions that Native American community have made and continue to make across our nation. Girls and leaders have plenty of activities to choose from to earn this fun patch, and we encourage girls from all ethnic backgrounds to participate, they are sure to learn interesting new things. 


Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead (November 1 and 2)

Because of its proximity to October 31 and association with sugar skulls, many people assume this day is an extension of Halloween. The festivities surrounding the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead aren’t meant to invoke the tricks and treats you find with Halloween; instead, they are filled with joy and paying respect to the loved ones you have lost. Read more >>>


Diwali (November 4)

India’s biggest holiday, comparable to the Christian celebration of Christmas, is Diwali. This Festival of Lights sees different interpretations around India, but the reason they celebrate remains the same. It is the representation of good defeating evil. Read more >>>


Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR, November 20)

According to GLAAD, TDOR is “an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.” It began in 1999 as a vigil for Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed the year before, and commemorated all those who lost their life after. Now it is an important annual tradition. Read more >>>


Thanksgiving (November 25)

Thanksgiving is a day commonly associated with turkey, football, and delicious desserts. Everyone is taught the story of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower and the assistance from Squanto and other Native American tribes in the area in elementary school, but how much of the story do you really remember? Read more >>>


Hanukkah (Begins November 28)

Another religious Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is the Jewish celebration of Maccabee victory over the Syrian Greek army, the rededication the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and the miracle that one vial of oil kept the Temple lamp lit for eight days. Read 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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