Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

April 2022 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.

Deaf History Month (Formely March 13, Ends April 15; New info from the National Association of of the Deaf (NAD): NEW DATE is April 1-30)

In a quote from the NAD, they explain the date change: The proposal for NDHM to occur on March 13 to April 15 was designed to recognize specific dates such as: March 13 represents the date in 1988 when I. King Jordan became the first Deaf President of Gallaudet University; April 8 represents the date in 1864 when Gallaudet University was officially founded; and April 15 represents the date in 1817 (not 1816 as signed) when American School for the Deaf was opened. The proposal for NDHM to occur April 1-30 was designed to simplify and incorporate the celebration in one month and also to focus on overall celebration of American Deaf history from all parts of the Deaf Community rather than focusing heavily on the schools. Based on the feedback from DCHS and various stakeholders, including from organizations that represent marginalized communities within the Deaf Community, the NAD Board has chosen April 1-30 as the National Deaf History Month. This decision is partly based on a mandate from our delegates that the NAD engage in efforts to dismantle racism within our community, and this requires ensuring that our historical lens must include the experiences of BIPOC Deaf People. The efforts of NDHM must celebrate and recognize all Deaf People in the U.S., especially BIPOC Deaf People. Read more from the National Association of the Deaf

Autism Awareness Month

The entire month of April is dedicated to autism awareness. Autism, a brain disorder that can affect a person’s ability to communicate, respond, and form relationships, is considered a growing health crisis by the United Nations. Ten years ago, 1 in 125 children were diagnosed. In 2020, the rate of prevalence increased to 1 in 54.

With a goal of increased awareness, organizations try and educate the public about signs and symptoms of autism, as well as ways to celebrate differences and encourage kindness. April 2 is celebrated as World Autism Day, where people are invited to wear blue, although there is some controversy around this and we invite people to celebrate in the way that they feel is most appropriate.

Ramadan (Begins April 2)

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 >>>

Passover (Begins April 15, Ends April 23)

Passover is a Jewish celebration to represent the Israelites being led out of Egypt, also know as the Exodus. The standard length is eight days and it begins with either one or two nights of seder, a specific feast. Individual celebrations may vary, but there are certain things to expect at seder, including prayers and a seder plate. This contains a number of things including unleavened bread (matzoh), bitter herbs (maror), and more.

The matzoah, or unleavened bread, represents the speed in which the Israelites left Egypt. Their bread didn’t have time to rise, so they honor this during Passover celebrations. Learn more about Passover

Easter (April 17)

This celebration features both religious and secular traditions. The roots of the holiday tie back to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah whose life and teaching define Christianity. For Christians, it is a week of remembrance beginning with Palm Sunday the week before and leading to Good Friday (the crucifixion) and then the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Church services throughout the week are common, with Friday being a time of reflection on the cross and Sunday a celebration.

Outside of religion, Easter is a fun spring holiday celebrated by many. While most of the traditions, including coloring eggs, stem from religious symbols, today they standalone. The Easter Bunny delivers baskets of goodies and candy to children. Easter Egg Hunts are common ways communities and churches celebrate.

Earth Day (April 22)

Every year, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 as a way to show support for our environment. Activities are held that support this initiative and people are reminded to be mindful of how we treat our planet. Plus, we have a GSWNY patch challenge designed to help you celebrate!

Arbor Day (April 30)

Arbor Day is all about caring for our trees! It’s a day of observance where both individuals and organizations plant trees. While many countries celebrate, the date will vary based on planting seasons. Learn more about the Arbor Day organization and find additional resources.

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