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Cultural Heritage and Awareness

LSA recognizes the following cultural heritage and awareness days, weeks, and months, hosting events and programming to raise awareness of the culture, contributions, and history of these communities. In some cases, U-M’s awareness month may differ from the national month of observance. U-M's months are marked with an asterisk (*).

Black History Month (February)

Black History Month is a celebration of the achievements and historiographies of African Americans. The celebration’s history starts with Carter G. Woodson, an American historian, author, and journalist. In 1915, Woodson founded what is known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), an organization dedicated to researching, promoting, and preserving the lives, history, and culture of Black Americans and other peoples of African descent. In 1926, ASALH sponsored a national Negro History week. The event grew from local communities to college campuses. By 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month.

National Women's History Month (March)

This month commemorates contributions women have made over the course of history in a variety of fields. It encourages the study and celebration of the women who built America and fought for equality. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter recognized the week of March 8 as Women’s History Week, and in 1987 Congress designated March as Women’s History Month, passing resolutions calling on the president to proclaim it as such each year.

National Deaf History Month (March - April)

This awareness month highlights significant events in the history of deaf education dating back to the 1800s. The first was the opening of America’s first public school for the deaf in April 1817. Gallaudet University opened on April 8, 1864, marking the world’s first higher education institution for the deaf and hard of hearing. In 1988, Gallaudet hired its first deaf president in response to student protests.

Arab American Heritage Month (May)(March - April)*

Nationally, Arab Heritage Month is celebrated throughout the month of April. This year, at the University of Michigan, Arab Heritage Month will be celebrated from March 15 - April 8.

Arab Heritage Month is a month-long celebration that draws attention to the histories, achievements, and cultures of Arabs, Arab-Americans, and people who trace their lineage back to Southwest Asia and North African regions.

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month (APIDA) (March - April)*

This heritage month honors and celebrates Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Although our campus recognition spans March and April, many celebrate in May to commemorate the first Japanese people coming to the United States, and in honor of Chinese immigrants who completed the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

Jewish American Heritage Month (May)

May marks Jewish American Heritage Month, which was first proclaimed in 2006 by President George W. Bush. The Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community leaders brought awareness to the cause, which has sparked yearly proclamations by each president since. May was selected in recognition of the highly successful celebration of the 350th Anniversary of American Jewish History in May 2004.

LGBTQ+ Pride Month (June)

Pride Month recognizes the trials and triumphs of those who fought and continue to fight for equality for LGBTQ+ people. The month was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall riots, where demonstrations by members of the gay community in response to a police raid were considered a turning point that transformed the liberation movement. Pride Month is a time for reflection, self-affirmation, and joy for members of the community and their allies.

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September - October)

This month honors the cultures and contributions of Hispanic Americans. It is often kicked off on September 15 to align with the anniversaries of the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, which are closely followed by the independence days of Mexico, Chile, and Belize. National Hispanic Heritage Month creates space to recognize the achievements of Hispanic Americans to our history and culture.

LGBTQ History Month (October)

Separate from Pride Month, LGBTQ History Month was founded in 1994 by high school history teacher Rodney Wilson. It aims to recognize and celebrate the history of the gay rights movement and related civil rights movements. In America it is celebrated in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day (October 11) and marches on Washington in 1979 and 1987 for LGBTQ rights.

Indigenous Peoples' Day (Native American Day) (October 11)

This October 11 observance recognizes Native Americans as the first inhabitants of the Americas, and encourages Americans to embrace a more accurate and complete narrative of our history. Indigenous Peoples' Day was created to counter Columbus Day, which celebrates colonial takeovers of the Americas that led to the deaths of millions of indigenous people.

Invisible Disabilities Week (October 17 - 23)

This week was created to raise awareness for people who are harmed from the disbelief and misunderstandings of others due to conditions that may be difficult or impossible to see. In addition to offering support to those with invisible disabilities, the initiative aims to support people who struggle with pain, illness, or disabilities that aren’t readily apparent.

Native American Heritage Month (November)

Native American Heritage Month Heritage Month celebrates the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native people while raising awareness about their unique challenges. This is an opportune time to learn more about both the history of Native Americans and current concerns and challenges facing their communities.