Each of us has the power to create more compassionate and inclusive communities in different aspects of our lives whether at home, school, work, or in our neighborhood. October provides a variety of opportunities to celebrate diversity, learn more about each other, and strengthen our communities by giving back. Explore 12 ways you can do just that!
1. Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month
From September 15-October 15, it’s National Hispanic Heritage Month. There are a variety of ways to celebrate Latinx culture and learn about Latinx history by attending virtual events, reading works by Latinx authors or grabbing one of these children’s books to enjoy with your children. You could even start a virtual or in-person book club with your co-workers, other families or friends, and discuss the books you are reading.
2. Advocate for LGBTQ+ equality
October is LGBTQ+ History Month. Rodney Wilson, a high school teacher from Missouri, started the first LGBTQ+ History Month in October of 1994 to create a month dedicated to celebrating and teaching LGBTQ+ history. There are several ways to honor, celebrate, and support the LGBTQ+ community. Here are some ideas of how you can get your schools involved. You can also bring more awareness around LGBTQ+ history on social media. In honor of the month, the Human Rights Campaign is looking back over this last year and has highlighted stories impacting the LGBTQ+ community here. It’s also National Coming Out Day on October 11th. As we honor this day, here are some coming out resources from the Human Rights Campaign, including a guide on how to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. You could also honor LGBTQ+ history month by giving back. October 19 is National LGBTQ+ Center Awareness Day, which was started to bring more awareness around the community centers that serve more than 40,000 people each week and to show ways that people can get connected with their local centers and use them as a resource. Here’s a link with ways of how you can participate.
3. Openly Share Your Pronouns
4. Tutor, Mentor, or Serve to Combat Educational Inequalities
October 20th, the third Wednesday of October, is International Pronouns Day. The purpose of the day is to make respecting, sharing, and education around personal pronouns commonplace. Consider updating your pronouns in your email signature at work and on your own account as well as on your social media profiles to promote this inclusive act and inspire others to do the same. Here are some other ways you can be part of the day.
The pandemic has worsened the inequalities in our society and can be largely seen when we look at the learning and relational gap students experienced. Laura Plato, VolunteerMatch’s Chief Solutions Officer recently wrote about this, where she pointed out, “Historically disadvantaged students have been hit the hardest. According to an analysis by McKinsey & Company, math students who were in majority Black schools ended the 2020-2021 year with six months of unfinished learning and students from low-income schools with seven.” Help every student reach their full potential and overcome these challenges. Sign up to Tutor, Mentor, or Serve to contribute your time and share your knowledge today. Join now at getreadyset.org. You could also invite your friends, colleagues, or family to get involved.
5. Honor the Cultures and the True History of Indigenous People
October 11th is Indigenous Peoples' Day. Many states and schools still don’t recognize the day, but you can change that. Join the Abolish Columbus Day Campaign to honor the rights and true history of indigenous people. This article from Oprah Daily highlights its history and how you can recognize the day through land acknowledgements, getting involved in the land back movement, or finding ways to educate yourself. Here are some ideas to honor the day as a family. Or you can also attend the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian virtual panel Youth in Action: Indigenous Peoples' Day—Black-Indigenous Youth Advancing Social Justice, which is part of a webinar series for students in middle and high school focusing on “young Native activists and changemakers from across the Western Hemisphere working towards equity and social justice for Indigenous peoples." Here's a comprehensive curated list of books for all ages to read to celebrate and learn more about Indigenous culture and experiences.
Down Syndrome Awareness month is in October. Whether at home, work, or on social media, take action by bringing awareness to the Down Syndrome Community and celebrating all of their abilities. By supporting the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), you can also help eliminate barriers and advocate for people with Down syndrome. Here’s a link for how you can participate.
7. Be a Part of Honoring Each of Our Contributions at Work and Providing Job Access to All
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, where you can be a part of making sure that people with disabilities have the same access to job opportunities and honoring their contributions at work. Here are ideas of how you can get involved, which includes actions every day of the month.
It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation Center, 1:8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Screenings and early detection are critical means for combating the illness, but due to COVID-19, there was a significant decrease in appointments. And a new report from Susan G. Komen® Closing the Breast Cancer Gap: A Roadmap to Save the Lives of Black Women in America shows "Black women are about 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women," which is a direct result of inequality in the healthcare that they are receiving. Help women get the treatment they need. Here are some ideas of how you can get involved, including giving your time or financial contributions, where you can select the program you would like to support such as free mammograms to those who need it. You can also give money or be a part of a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen®. Whatever you decide to do, think of fun ways to involve others like creating a friendly competition among co-workers to see who raises the most money!
9. Take Actions for Equal Health for Everyone
Take actions to build a world where all people can have equal health. We are partnering with Healthline to amplify marginalized voices, and eliminate unfair, avoidable, and unnecessary differences in health outcomes between groups through TRANSFORM: Health Equity.
10. Help End Domestic Violence and Support Survivors
It is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), domestic violence impacts over 10 million adults each year. And it’s startling to see that it has increased since the start of the pandemic. Although domestic violence impacts all women at an alarming rate, Native, multiracial, and Black women are impacted more. Based on a report from the CDC, it’s estimated in their lifetime physical violence from an intimate partner is experienced by “51.7% of American Indian/Alaska Native women, 51.3% of multiracial women, 41.2% of non-Hispanic Black women, 30.5% of non-Hispanic white women, 29.7% of Hispanic women and 15.3% of Asian or Pacific Islander women.” You can make a difference by getting involved with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) or by lending a helping hand locally or virtually.
11. Take Care of Yourself and Others
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health,” according to the World Health Organization. For this World Mental Health Day on October 10th, you can join the Mental Health Care for All campaign, and here are some ideas to honor the day by taking care of yourself and others. Be inspired by amazing speakers on how to support one another and ourselves by watching the virtual panel: You’re Not Alone: Prioritizing Well-Being, and Connection at Home, at Work and in Community.
12. Support Match Studio Artist, Lena Grey
Lena Grey is a Charlotte based artist and musician, who began pursuing art as a method of expressing her gender transition. Originally a graphic designer, Lena uses her knowledge of digital media to create illustrations and paintings that provide empowering and reflective imagery of trans people of color that is often absent in popular media. “My hope is that I can create imagery that can positively affect trans people of color while giving me the platform to spread awareness about the systemic issues we face such as lack of proper healthcare, economic disadvantages, and violence, which can all exacerbate mental health issues,” said Lena. Grab the gear featuring Lena Grey’s artwork and support Trans Lifeline, an organization by and for trans people providing “radical community support.”