Diversity and Inclusion Spotlight

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Select Quarterly Observances 2021


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month which was launched in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1998, the week was extended to a month and renamed. The annual event draws attention to employment barriers that still need to be addressed. For more information, click HERE.

October 10: World Mental Health Day, was first celebrated in 1993, this day is meant to increase public awareness about the importance of mental health, mental health services, and mental health workers worldwide. For more information, click HERE.


October 11: National Coming Out Day (U.S.), is for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, this day celebrates coming out and the recognition of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality. For more information, click HERE


October 11: National Indigenous People's Day, is an alternative celebration to Columbus Day, gives recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization. For more information, click HERE

October 18–19 (sundown to sundown): Eid Milad un-Nabi, is an Islamic holiday commemorating the birthday of the prophet Muhammad. During this celebration, homes and mosques are decorated, large parades take place, and those observing the holiday participate in charity events. For more information, click HERE

October 20: International Pronouns Day, seeks to make respecting, sharing and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Each year it is held on the third Wednesday of October. For more information, click HERE


October 21: Latina Women's Equal Pay Day, is aimed is to raise awareness about the wider-than-average pay gap between Latinx women and White men. Latinx women are paid 54 cents for every dollar paid to white men. For more information, click HERE


November is National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans. For more information, click HERE


November 11: Veterans Day, is a U.S. federal holiday honoring military veterans. The date is also celebrated as Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, in other parts of the world and commemorates the ending of World War I in 1918. For more information, click HERE


November 19: International Men’s Day, which emphasizes the important issues affecting males, including health issues that affect males, improving the relations between genders, highlighting the importance of male role models and promoting gender equality. This holiday is celebrated in more than 70 countries. For more information, click HERE

November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was established in 1999 to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia and to raise awareness of the continued violence endured by the transgender community. For more information, click HERE


November 25: Thanksgiving, is observed in the United States. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.


November 26: Native American Heritage Day, which is held annually the Friday after Thanksgiving, encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe and honor Native Americans through appropriate ceremonies and activities. The day was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2008. For more information, click HERE


November 28–December 6: Hanukkah, which is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated around the world for eight days and nights. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees, or Israelites, over the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus, approximately 2,200 years ago. For more information, click HERE.


November 30: St. Andrew's Day, which is the feast day for St. Andrew within various Christian denominations. For more information, click HERE


December 1: World AIDS Day, which commemorates those who have died of AIDS, and acknowledges the need for a continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. For more information, click HERE


December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which was designed to raise awareness in regard to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity. For more information, click HERE


December 8: Bodhi Day, is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment, also known as bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali. For more information, click HERE

 December 10: International Human Rights Day, which was established by the United Nations in 1948 to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For more information, click HERE
 December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is a religious holiday in Mexico commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531. For more information, click HERE
 December 16–24: Las Posadas, which is a nine-day celebration in Mexico commemorating the trials Mary and Joseph endured during their journey to Bethlehem. For more information, click HERE
 December 25: Christmas Day, which is the day that many Christians associate with Jesus’ birth.
 December 26: Boxing Day, is a secular holiday celebrated in the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Africa. For more information, click  HERE
 December 26–January 1: Kwanza, which is an African-American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage. For more information, click  HERE

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Book Review

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

Author: Heather McGhee

Why can’t we all have nice things? Does a rising tide really lift all boats? When making the case for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA), we often face the common question of what the majority group will have to give up to create a more equitable world. There’s an emotional connection to any type of perceived loss that can be hard to overcome. Heather McGhee tackles this dilemma in her best-selling book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.

McGhee embarks on a journey throughout the country, from Mississippi to California, shedding light on how the zero-sum paradigm leads us to believe that our progress must come at the expense of others. She chronicles how stories of how public venues in this country — from parks to schools to swimming pools — have now become private luxuries, inspired by greed and racist ideology.

Policies aimed at keeping marginalized communities down have had a boomerang effect on society. We’ve seen the collapse of unions, wage stagnation, tuition inflation, health care degradation and infrastructure erosion. She painstakingly weaves a narrative of how we’ve gotten to such an unequal place. But all is not lost: McGhee does provide us with a path out of this downward spiral, casting a lifeline at this pivotal moment. She provides a way to break the emotional connection with the harmful ideology that is the zero-sum paradigm and embarks on a new path forward using the Solidarity Dividend concept.

As an example of this Solidarity Dividend, McGhee chronicles how fast-food workers in New York in 2012 came together to demand better wages in the Fight for $15 movement, which has now spread to a variety of sectors nationwide. She reminds us that there are those still cloaked in the zero-sum paradigm who will wonder why “they” should get paid so much — that emotional connection to such a harmful position is what we must fight against. We must always remember that “They are US,” and we should always fight for honest pay for an honest day’s work.

The Sum of Us reminds us we are stronger together, and we can all prosper in this great nation. Through the application of the Solidarity Dividend, we can all have nice things.

Check out this and other recommended readings from the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee.

Roger A. Meertins, SPHR
Director of Administration
Venable LLP