The word ‘home’ has a unique meaning for Lindsey Skelton.
Although she’s lived in St. Louis, Missouri her entire life, she understands that home isn’t a specific location— it’s a place where you feel like you belong. And she does her best to create a safe, inclusive space for others, whether that’s at work as NGA’s Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager or at her house, which she’s opened to over 40 foster children in the past six years.
Now living with her four adopted children and 9 furbabies, Lindsey is focusing her energy on developing NGA’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) strategy and training her colleagues on how to advocate for themselves and others. We recently sat down with Lindsey to hear more about her journey as well as her top tips for self-advocating.
NGA born and raised
When Lindsey scored her first college internship with NGA, it was no surprise to her parents. “Both of my parents worked at NGA and their predecessor organizations,” explains Lindsey. “I remember listening to [their] stories around the dinner table.” So when she was offered a full-time position in Human Resources, she didn’t think twice before accepting.
Since then, Lindsey has worked in a number of different positions at the Agency, from geospatial open source research to foundation GEOINT contracts to DEI. “There's an enormous amount of opportunity for growth and mobility both laterally and upward [at NGA].”
The Agency has supported her on her career journey by giving her the space to create her own positions and opportunities to complete two masters degrees and multiple certifications. Through the support and learning opportunities, she transitioned into her most recent position as a Team Lead in DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility).
You don’t have to be one to join one
Lindsey has been interested in DEIA ever since she can remember. “I think a lot of it came from the fact that I felt different from my peers as a child,” she explains. “I came out as a lesbian when I was a teenager and I experienced different levels of discrimination throughout my childhood and adolescence.”
With her personal experience and DEIA-related coursework under her belt, Lindsey spends most of her time creating DEIA frameworks to further NGA’s impact on underrepresented groups and supporting internal Special Emphasis Program (SEP) Councils. “I'm able to ensure that DEIA initiatives are occurring around the Agency and that everyone is treated with respect and dignity.”
Similar to Employee Resource Groups, SEP councils give employees the opportunity to grow professionally and a safe place to advocate for themselves and others. “Our tagline is ‘you don't have to be one to join one,’” explains Lindsey. “So if you don't see yourself within any of the councils, you can still join!” For example, there are several men on the federal women's program council. In this case, “we stress that men have the opportunity to use their voice and their privilege to help advance opportunities for women.”
3 tips to advocate for yourself and those around you
Whether championing for a new role or providing children with a safe home, Lindsey advocates for herself and others in all aspects of life. “I definitely think that self-advocacy at work, and in your personal life, is critical to being happy,” she explains. “No one else is going to advocate for you the way that you can advocate for yourself.” Based on her experiences, she suggests three main actions to make advocacy a bit easier.
Tip 1: Champion and value yourself. Celebrating and supporting diversity starts by valuing your full background—including race, gender, culture, and values. Value your experiences and your perspective, even if it’s different from others’.
Tip 2: Speak up for yourself. Communication is key and speaking up for yourself “will give you more control over making your own choices in your life making it easier to stand up for your rights.” This, in turn, helps those around you to better understand what you think, what you want, what you need, and how they can support you.
Tip 3: Believe in yourself. “Everyone is unique, valuable, and worth the effort to advocate for themselves and to protect their rights; no matter who they are, what they look like, and who they love,” explains Lindsey. “Believing in yourself will help you champion others to do the same, too.”
Interested in growing your career at NGA? Check out their open roles here!
Being unique in the professional realm is a game-changer.
Different ways of thinking can lead to new innovations and competitive advantages for businesses. With fresh eyes, sharp minds, and unique abilities, that’s just one of the benefits neurodivergent employees can offer! That’s why making sure your neurodivergent employees are supported is an important investment for the future of business.
In April, we celebrate neurodiversity through Autism Awareness Month. And while it’s an important time to appreciate the many talents and unique perspectives that this community brings to the workplace, it’s a celebration that should continue year-round.
Perhaps that’s why many have stopped calling it Autism Awareness Month and started using Autism Acceptance Month— because it’s time to move past being aware and start accepting and celebrating the different ways that people think!
Whether you’re an employer or a coworker, you can help cultivate a safe environment for unique perspectives, creativity, and talent! Here is a list of 5 ways that you can do just that by supporting neurodivergent employees in the workplace.
1. Discuss individual needs and accommodations
Neurodiversity is an umbrella term that covers autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, and learning disabilities. This means no two neurodivergent people are the same and each one will have their own specific needs to be met in the workplace to ensure success.
The best way to make sure that each individual is successfully accommodated is to discuss it with them personally. Allow them to tell you what accommodations could be made so they can be as productive and comfortable as possible. Then work with them to develop solutions for any problems and cultivate an environment that will best fit their needs.
For example, if an individual struggles with sensory sensitivity, they may require a quiet space to work, a fragrance-free environment, or maybe specific lighting fixtures. Or perhaps you’re working with a dyslexic individual. They might benefit from either virtual or in-person meetings rather than email or written forms of conversing.
Whatever it may be, open communication is key to a safe and successful workplace atmosphere!
2. Give clear communication, instructions, and expectations
Avoid being ambiguous in your communication with neurodivergent workers. Whether you’re a manager or a coworker, it’s always important to be as clear as you can in whatever form your communication takes.
Some neurodivergent individuals may struggle to grasp nuances or inferred meanings unlike neurotypical thinkers, so it’s crucial to be explicit about job expectations, priorities, and available support.
It is also important to remember to be as specific as possible when giving instructions. The National Autistic Society offers a great example: “...rather than saying 'Give everybody a copy of this', say 'Make three photocopies of this, and give one each to Sam, Mary and Ahmed'.” This avoids accidental misinterpretations that can lead to frustration and confusion for some neurodivergent workers.
It is also important to cater to individual communication requirements. For instance, an autistic staff member may benefit from written instructions that they can refer back to at any time, but a dyslexic staff member may prefer verbal communication to avoid any confusion.
3. Make work schedules are structured and flexible
Structure is important, and even more so for neurodivergent people. Structured schedules for neurodivergent employees help to ensure them certainty, success, and less frustration in the workplace.
Always be willing to help prioritize daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, and offer precise start times and deadlines for those that may need them. Some employees with autism spectrum disorder may also benefit from breaking these bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps.
It may also be necessary to help those on the autism spectrum with adjusting to a routine, as well as preparing them in advance for any upcoming changes that could affect their schedule.
But while some neurodivergent individuals benefit from a strict daily routine, others, especially those with ADHD, may benefit from a schedule that allows for flexible days and hours as well as regular breaks. This allows them to be able to perform their best without the stress of breaking a rigid schedule.
4. Offer support and resources
A healthy, inclusive atmosphere for neurodivergent individuals begins with education in the workplace. Educating neurotypical employees on neurodiversity and the benefits and unique ways of thinking they can bring to the professional realm can help cultivate an environment that is both aware and appreciative of the importance of being different.
Educated staff can better collaborate with their neurodivergent coworkers and accommodate their needs by knowing how they can help their colleagues succeed on a daily basis. Educated managers are more apt to communicate, offer support, and listen to new ideas offered by their neurodivergent team members.
It is also important to offer resources to the neurodiverse staff. Whether it’s a mentor, manager, or another form of one-on-one assistance, having someone to support them in times of stress, answer questions, or help with making accommodations can make a huge impact on creating a healthy, inclusive workplace.
5. Use positive and inclusive language
It’s important that both employers and coworkers show their respect and appreciation for neurodivergent team members in their communication.
Officially, businesses can show their inclusivity through professional communication. This includes a business' mission statement, vision and values, job descriptions, HR policies, and so on. While these directly affect employees internally, it also has an external effect by spreading awareness and normalizing neurodiverse inclusivity in the professional realm.
Coworkers can also play a big role in inclusivity through communication. Supporting, encouraging, and accommodating neurodivergent colleagues when possible helps them feel like a valued community member. Whether it’s emails, meetings, or daily conversations with colleagues, using positive and inclusive language can help cultivate a safe environment for neurodivergent coworkers.
Want to learn more about how to support neurodivergent employees? Check out this free guide!
A few months ago, I went through a part of my usual Saturday routine: I took my child to soccer practice and cheered from the sidelines. But this time, I wore my Ray-Ban Stories glasses. With a simple voice command, I was able to take photos and videos without having to fiddle with my phone or be separated from the moment by a screen. For the first time, I was right there the entire time — never missing a moment.
That afternoon, I got a glimpse into what’s possible with presence thanks to technology. It was so powerful and magical that it felt like the gap between my memory and experience had completely collapsed.
The metaverse — the next generation of digital experiences — will transform the way we connect. With today’s internet, we connect with people mostly by looking at screens. But in the metaverse, we’ll be able to share the same spaces three-dimensionally.
In the next decade, more than a billion people may be in the metaverse. And because companies like Meta are starting to think about this future now, we have the opportunity to help build the metaverse with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) from its inception. There’s no doubt that it’s an enormous responsibility. And it definitely isn’t easy to resolve the complicated issues of DEI in technology, especially at a global scale. But working on these issues is one of the things that excites me most about Meta, and our role in using technology to have a positive impact on society.
It’ll take years for the metaverse to be built, so we have a long road ahead. Here are a few things we’re doing — and being intentional about — now.
1) Asking the right questions
To work toward an inclusive metaverse, we need to ask the right questions about what inclusivity must look like in immersive experiences. Meta is doing that through a two-year, $50 million investment in partnerships with U.S. civil rights groups, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and other organizations globally to explore issues related to the metaverse from different perspectives. And through a partnership with Howard University, researchers will explore historical barriers to information technology; they’ll share recommendations on what we can do to remove those barriers and offer insights to better inform our work from the ground up.
2) Building networks of diverse talent
Diverse people shouldn’t just participate in the metaverse as consumers; they should be its architects and builders as well. To make that happen, we need to increase the diversity of people working in the tech industry, particularly in areas like artificial intelligence (AI), gaming, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR).
We’re partnering with institutions across the United States — historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander–serving institutions — to attract more students to deep learning courses and increase diversity and equity in the field of AI. Through the AI Learning Alliance, more people from underrepresented groups will be able to take free online courses in AI to prepare themselves for the jobs of the future. Courses will be available through our online learning platform, Meta Blueprint, and open to everyone, whether they are a student, professional, or hobbyist.
3) Breaking down language barriers
For people who speak or read languages like English and German, the internet offers endless possibilities. But many people who speak only an unwritten or nondominant language are cut off.
Today’s translation tools typically use English as an intermediary when translating between two different languages, which can be less accurate than direct translation. They also aren’t capable of translating speech in one language to speech or writing in another. That’s why using new technology to break down language barriers is so important. People will feel more connected to others if they can communicate, work, or produce art in their chosen languages. They’ll also have the potential to immediately reach billions of others across the world regardless of their preferred language. Can you imagine how that would change our lives?
Possibilities like these drive our long-term efforts to build new translation tools that will give creators and consumers the ability to participate equally in the metaverse in more languages and reach people in the farthest corners of the globe.
4) Broadening access to the metaverse for users and creators
Participation in the metaverse will not depend on having access to a headset. There will be many entry points through which people can participate using any device, including mobile phones. For those who do want the experience that a VR headset allows, we are working to make them as affordable as possible. It’s also important to remember that, as an industry, we’re still at the very early stages of building devices with VR and AR capabilities.
Enabling access for creators from diverse backgrounds is equally important, and I’m pleased with the progress we are making with our Spark AR platform. It’s already being used by hundreds of thousands of creators in 190 countries to build immersive experiences across Meta’s apps and devices. Spark AR and similar platforms are making it possible for people from diverse backgrounds to build effects and other things in AR that will enrich our VR and AR worlds of the future.
5) Creating myriad options for self-expression
Representations in the metaverse should reflect the diversity of the real world. Recently, we announced improvements to our Meta avatars, including new facial shapes and assistive devices such as cochlear implants, over-the-ear hearing aids, and wheelchairs for people with disabilities. When you create your avatar, you can choose the facial features, body type, clothing styles, and more that are right for you. We offered more than one quintillion different combinations when we launched our updated avatars last year, and we’re continuing to add more options to give people even more ways to express themselves. And now you can choose to bring that avatar across VR, Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.
Appearance is important, but representation in the metaverse will also be about voice, sound, and other ways we express ourselves. Avatars are just the first step toward enabling everyone to show up however they choose.
Here’s the “ting”
I love my native country of Trinidad and Tobago. In fact, I love the entire region of the Caribbean. However, by virtue of size and scale alone, educational and work opportunities were more limited than if one had the offerings of the entire globe from which to choose. If I had the ability to “be” in other places while physically staying in the country I loved, it would have changed my entire life trajectory. I grew up at a time when long-distance phone calls were exorbitantly expensive, so writing and mailing letters was how I kept in touch with family and friends far away. When I moved abroad to further my education, whether in the United States or in England, I would ration my letters home because stamps were so expensive and the letters took forever to move back and forth! Now, with Ray-Ban Stories and Portal, I can easily share everyday moments with family back home, in real time, no matter where I am. In the metaverse, even more education and work possibilities will open up so that people can pursue their dreams while staying close to the people and places they love.
It’s important to remember that an inclusive metaverse benefits everyone, including people from traditionally underrepresented groups. What inclusivity in the metaverse will look like is a difficult question with no easy answers. As with any transformative technology, it will take a while for everything to come together, and even when the metaverse is realized, it will continue to evolve with time. I am encouraged by the active investments Meta is making to approach inclusion holistically and to engage with partners and experts in ongoing conversations about what it will truly mean to help build the metaverse responsibly.
Inclusive leaders are ones who make their team feel like they belong, like they're valued, and like their whole self is seen and appreciated at work. Being cognizant of different holidays and celebrations can go a long way in doing that.
Perhaps your company chooses to highlight the diversity of your employees by collectively celebrating different festive days. Or maybe you're encouraging employees to use floating paid holidays to mark important days with their families and friends. Either way, a diversity awareness calendar can go a long way in helping you meet your goals. Avoid insensitive missteps by checking against these diversity holidays before scheduling all-hands meetings or company parties.
Start your planning with this diversity and inclusion calendar —and make sure it's truly inclusive by asking your team to add the holidays that are important to them.
You can sync this calendar with your Google Calendar by clicking the link below!
This diversity calendar starts with month-long celebrations in January:
- Poverty in America Awareness Month
- Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month
January 1: New Year's Day, the first day of the year as celebrated by many countries.
January 6: The Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day or Día de los Reyes, a Christian holiday that recognizes the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus after his birth.
January 7: Christmas Day, as celebrated by Eastern Orthodox Christians, as they follow the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar.
January 10: Bodhi Day, the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that Siddhartha Gautama experienced enlightenment.
January 14: Orthodox New Year, according to the Julian calendar.
January 16: World Religion Day, a Bahá'í holiday that celebrates the commonality between different religions and encourages interfaith understanding.
January 16-17: Tu B'shevat, or the Jewish New Year for Trees, known as the Jewish Arbor Day, which marks the start of spring in Israel.
January 17: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday that marks the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 18: Mahayana New Year, the day that Mahayana Buddhists celebrate the new year.
February is Black History Month, celebrating the history and achievements of Black Americans.
February 1: National Freedom Day, honoring the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that abolished slavery.
February 1: Lunar New Year, a week-long festival that begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar, celebrated in China as well as in Japan, Vietnam, Korea, and Mongolia.
February 2: Candlemas, a Christian holy day that commemorates when Jesus was presented to the temple for the first time.
February 5: Vasant Panchami, a Hindu festival celebrating spring and Saraswati Devi, the goddess of art and culture.
February 11: Asian-American Women's Equal Pay Day, marking the fact that Asian-American women earn 90 cents for every dollar earned by white men.
February 14: Valentine's Day, celebrated by western Christians as a saint's day and as a secular holiday highlighting love.
February 15: Nirvana Day, a Buddhist commemoration of Buddha's death.
February 15: Presidents' Day, a U.S. holiday celebrating President George Washington's birthday and all the presidents after him.
February 16: Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday and the end of the Carnival season, celebrated by Christians as the last day before Lent and often full of feasting and celebration.
February 16: Mukha Bucha Day, also known as Māgha Pūjā, a Buddhist holiday celebrating the Buddhist community spent giving alms, visiting the temple, and meditating.
February 16: Maghi-Purnima, a Hindu festival celebrated on the last day of Magha, a month focused on charity work, when devotees often take holy baths and do charity.
March is National Women's History Month, celebrating the contributions and achievements women have made to American history. It's also:
- Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
- Greek-American Heritage Month
- Irish-American Heritage Month
March 1: Maha Shivarati, a Hindu festival celebrated to honor Lord Shiva and the arrival of spring.
March 1: Lailat al Miraj, a Muslim holiday commemorating Muhammad's journey from Mecca to the Farthest Mosque in Jerusalem and beginning the night before at sundown.
March 2: Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar.
March 8: International Women's Day, celebrating women's social, economic, cultural, and political achievements and highlighting women's rights.
March 9: Asian American and Pacific Islander Women's Equal Pay
March 16-17: Purim, a Jewish holiday marking when the Jewish community in Persia was saved from genocide, celbrated by giving charity and feasting.
March 17: St. Patrick's Day, a holiday celebrating the patron saint of Ireland.
March 18: Holi, a Hindu and sikh spring festival celebrating spring and new beginnings with bonfires, bright colors, and feasting.
March 20: Ostara, a holiday celebrating the spring equinox observed by Pagans and Wiccans.
March 20: Norooz, the Persian New Year.
March 20-21: Naw-Ruz, the Baha'I New Year.
March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, declared by the United Nations in 1966 to honor the killing of 69 people at a demonstration against South African apartheid.
March 24: All Women's Equal Pay Day
March 25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, declared by the United Nation in 2008 to honor and remember slaves who died.
March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility
- Arab-American Heritage Month
- Autism Awareness Month
- Earth Month
- Tartan (Scottish-American) Heritage Month
April 2: World Autism Awareness Day, meant to raise awareness of the developmental disorder.
April 2-May 2: Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year and a holy month celebrating when Mohammad received the revelations of the Quran, spent fasting, reflecting, and praying.
April 8: Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Memorial Day, celebrated in Israel and around the world as a day of remembrance for the 6 million Jews that died in the Holocaust.
April 10: Ram Navami, a Hindu holiday celebrating the birthday of Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishu.
April 10: Palm Sunday, a Christian holiday marking Jesus's entry into Jerusalem and the start of the Holy Week.
April 14: Holy Thursday, a Christian holiday commemorating the Last Supper between Jesus and the Apostles before his crucifixion.
April 14: Lord's Evening Meal, celebrated by Jehovah's Witnesses in memory the Last Supper celebrated on the first night of Passover in 33 CE.
April 14: Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year and a celebration of the founding of the Sikh community in 1699
April 13-15: Songkran Festival, the Thai New Year, also celebrated as the Buddhist New Year.
April 15: Good Friday, a Christian holiday marking Jesus's crucifixion.
April 17: Easter, celebrated by Christians as the day Jesus rose from the dead after dying on the cross.
April 13: Equal Pay Day, at the time of writing; this day marking the pay gap between men and women moves depending on the actual pay gap.
April 14: Mahavir Jayanti, an important holiday celebrated by Jains commemorating the birth of Lord Mahavira.
April 15-April 23: Passover or Pesach, an eight-day Jewish festival celebrating when Israelites were freed from slavery in ancient Egypt.
April 21-May 2: Rivdan, a Baha'i festival celebrating when Baha'u'llah resided in paradise and proclaimed his mission as God's messenger.
April 22: Earth Day, promoting sustainability and environmental protection.
April 23: National Day of Silence, a protest against bullying and harassment of LGBTQIA+ individuals by students who take a vow of silence.
April 24: Armenian Martyrs' Day, honoring the 1.5 million Armenians killed by genocide in Turkey.
April 24: Pascha, Orthodox Easter.
April 29: Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of the year for Muslims, celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan and commemorating the night that the Quran was revealed to Mohammad.
May has several month-long celebrations, including:
- Mental Health Month
- Haitian Heritage Month
- Indian Heritage Month
- Jewish-American Heritage Month
- National Asian American and South Pacific Islander Heritage Month
- Older Americans Month
- South Asian American Heritage Month
May 1: Beltane, a Celtic festival celebrating the beginning of summer, also known as May Day.
May 2-3: Eid al-Fitr, the celebration of the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal.
May 5: Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday commemorating Mexico's 1862 victory over France in the Battle of Puebla, celebrated in the Mexican state of Puebla and by Mexican-Americans.
May 5: Mother's Equal Pay Day
May 6: Vesak Day or Visakha Puja, a Buddhist festival marking Gautama Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death.
May 9: Mother's Day.
May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
May 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, a day set by the United Nations to celebrate harmony.
May 24: Declaration of the Bab, a Baha'i holiday.
May 25: Africa Day, commemorating the foundation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963.
May 26: The Feast of the Ascension, a Christian holiday celebrating Jesus's ascension into heaven.
May 29-30: Ascension of Baha'u'llah, a Baha'i holy day.
May 30: Memorial Day, a U.S. holiday honoring military veterans who died in war.
In June, several month-long holidays are celebrated, including LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, along with:
- AIDS Awareness Month
- Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month
- National Caribbean American Heritage Month
June 4-6: Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the spring harvest and the giving of the Torah.
June 5: Pentecost, a Christian holiday commemorating when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles.
June 12: Loving Day, celebrating the anniversary of the 1967 Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia that made interracial marriage legal.
June 12: Anne Frank Day, celebrating the birthday of the young Jewish hero.
June 13: Race Unity Day, a Baha'i holiday founded in 1957.
June 15: Native American Citizenship Day, which commemorates when the U.S. Congress passed legislation recognizing the citizenship of Native Americans in 1924.
June 19: Juneteenth, a holiday that originally commemorated when the abolition of slavery was announced in Texas in 1865 and is now a broader celebration of Black freedom and achievement.
June 19: All Saints' Day, an Orthodox celebration of all known and unknown Christian saints.
June 20: Father's Day.
June 20: World Refugee Day, marked by the UN to encourage public awareness and refugee support.
June 24: Litha, the summer solstice celebrated by Pagans.
June 26: Anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.S., which happened via the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015.
The month of July is French-American Heritage Month.
July 4: Independence Day
July 4: Republic Day, also known as Filipino-American Friendship Day, marking the Philippines' independence from the United States.
July 9: Martyrdom of the Bab, a Baha'i holiday observing the anniversary of the death of the Bab, the prophet of the Baha'i faith.
July 9-13: Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday commemorating the prophet Ibrahim's readiness to sacrifice his son, Ismail.
July 13: Dharma Day, also known as Asalha Puja, a Buddhist holiday commemorating the Buddha's first discourse after his spiritual awakening.July 13: Dharma Day, also known as Asalha Puja, a Buddhist holiday commemorating the Buddha's first discourse after his spiritual awakening.
July 14: Bastille Day, also known as French National Day, celebrating the storming of the Bastille in 1789, a turning point in the French Revolution.
July 18: International Nelson Mandela Day, marked on Mendela's birthday to honor his legacy.
July 24: Pioneer Day, a Mormon holiday recognizing the arrival of Brigham Young and the first group of Morman pioneers in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.
July 26: ADA Day, celebrating when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990.
July 29-30: Al-Hijra, the first day of the month of Muharram, which marks the beginning of the Islamic year.
July 30: International Day of Friendship, a day designated by the UN to promote relationships and friendship across cultures.
August 9: International Day of the World's Indigenous People, celebrating the rich heritage of indigenous cultures and recognizing the challenges they face.
August 3: Black Women's Equal Pay Day
August 5-6: Tisha B'Av, a Jewish date of observance mourning the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.
August 8: Ashura, a day of fasting observed by Muslims to mark Moses' exodus from Egypt.
August 11: Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi, an Indian festival celebrating the relationship between brothers and sisters.
August 19: World Humanitarian Day, marked by the UN to commemorate humanitarian workers killed or injured through their work.
August 19: Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Jayanti, a Hindu holiday celebrating Krishna's birthday.
August 26: Women's Equality Day, which celebrates the passing of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.
August 31: Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu holiday celebrating the birthday of Ganesha.
September 15th to October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities. It begins on September 15th because that day is the independence day of several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.
September 6: Labor Day, celebrating workers and the labor union movement.
September 8: Native American Women's Equal Pay Day
September 16: Mexican Independence Day
September 21: International Day of Peace, a day of nonviolence started by the United Nations.
September 23: Bi Visibility Day, marking the bi+ community.
September 25-27: Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the beginning of a ten-day period of spiritual renewal.
September 26: European Day of Languages, created by the Council of Europe and organized by the CoE and the European Union, which commemorates the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe.
September 26- October 5: Navratri, a nine-day festival celebrating good triumphing over evil and ends in Dussehra on the 15th.
October is a packed month for cultural and communal celebrations, including:
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- Disability Employment Awareness Month
- Down Syndrome Awareness Month
- Filipino-American Heritage Month
- German-American Heritage Month
- Italian-American Heritage Month
- LGBTQIA+ History Month
- National Work and Family Month
- Polish-American Heritage Month
- Family History Month
October 2: International Day of Nonviolence, marked on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday to work towards a culture of peace, tolerance, and understanding.
October 4-5: Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement that ends the ten days of penance that began with Rosh Hashanah.
October 9-16: Sukkot, a Jewish weeklong commemoration of the 40-year wanderings of the Israelites.
October 10: World Mental Health Day
October 11: National Coming Out Day, which is celebrated on the anniversary of a 500,000-person march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality.
October 11: Indigenous Peoples' Day, celebrating and honoring Native American history and culture, previously celebrated as Columbus Day and changed by many states and cities to decenter genocide.
October 15: White Cane Safety Day, a day for awareness of the blind community.
October 16-18: Shemini Atzeret, a Jewish holiday known as the Eighth Day of Assembly and marked by joy and prayers.
September 17-18: Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday that celebrates the Torah and marks a new cycle of reading it.
October 18-19: Eid Milad ul-Nabi, a Muslim holiday marking the birthday of the prophet Mohammed, celebrated by by Sunni Muslims on the 18th and Shi'a Muslims on the 23rd.
October 20: Sikh Holy Day, celebrating the birth of Guru Granth.
October 21: Latina's Equal Pay Day
October 22: International Stuttering Awareness Day, which works to raise public awareness of stuttering.
October 24: Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
October 25-26: Birth of the Bab, a Baha'i holiday marking the birth of the faith's prophet-herald.
October 27: Birth of Baha'u'llah, a Baha'i observance of another prophet-herald.
October 31: Halloween
October 31-November 2: Día de los Muertos, the Mexican celebration marking the Day of the Dead and celebrating those who have passed.
- National Native American, American Indian, and Alaskan Native Heritage Month
- Movember, meant to increase awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer
November 1: All Saints' Day, a western Christian holiday commemorating known and unknown Christian saints.
November 2: All Souls' Day, a Christian holiday to commemorate the dead (marked as Día de los Muertos in Mexico).
November 8: Guru Nanek Dev Ji's birthday, an important Sikh holiday celebrating the founder of Sikhism.
November 11: Veterans Day, honoring military veterans.
November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance, memorializing those killed due to anti-transgender prejudice.
November 24: Thanksgiving, commemorating the Pilgrims' harvest feast, and sometimes marked as a day of mourning to recognize the decimation of the Native Americans by the colonists.
November 25: Native American Heritage Day, observed on the day after Thanksgiving to honor Native American culture and history.
November 25-26: Day of the Covenant, a Baha'i holiday celebrating the appointment of Abdúl-Baha as the faith's successor.
November 28-29: Ascension of Abdu'l-Baha, a Baha'i holiday.
December is Universal Human Rights Month.
December 1: World AIDS Day, encouraging activism and education on HIV and AIDS.
December 3: International Day for People with Disabilities, planned to raise awareness of the issues people with disabilities face.
December 6: St. Nicholas' Day, the saint's day for the inspiration for modern-day Santa Claus celebrated in western Christian countries.
December 10: International Human Rights Day, started by the UN in 1948 upon the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
December 16-24: Las Posadas, a religious festival celebrated in Mexico and other parts of Latin America that commemorates the journey Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem before Jesus's birth.
December 18-26: Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights that celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over King Antiochus.
December 21: Yule Winter Solstice, a pagan celebration of the first day of winter.
December 24: Christmas Eve, celebrating Mary and Joseph's arrival in Bethlehem for Jesus's birth.
December 25: Christmas, a western Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus.
December 26: Kwanzaa, a seven-day celebration of African-American culture and life originally founded in 1966.
December 31: New Year's Eve, the last day of the year in the Gregorian calendar and celebrated as the passing of one year and the beginning of another.