Heritage Celebrations

All UNCG students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take advantage of the multicultural opportunities that are available during the academic year.

Hispanic Heritage — Celebrated in September

Celebrated September 15th to October 15th, Hispanic Heritage Month On September 17, 1968, the U.S. Congress established the week including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week. The agreement authorized the President to issue an annual proclamation encouraging people of the United States, “especially the educational community,” to observe the Heritage Week. In 1988, the 100th Congress expanded Hispanic Heritage Week to a full month, beginning September 15 and ending October 15. These dates correspond to the independence days of several Latin American countries. September 15 marks the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico’s independence is September 16, Chile’s is September 18, and October 12 is celebrated as Dia de la Raza. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated with ceremonies and activities in corporations, government agencies, community organizations, schools, and churches. It is a time to honor the rich diversity of the Hispanic American community and educate oneself about the history, culture, and traditions of people who have made, and continue to make, remarkable contributions to society.

LGBT History Month – Celebrated in October

LGBT History Month originated in the United States and was first celebrated in 1994. It was founded by Missouri high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson.Among early supporters and members of the first coordinating committee were Kevin Jennings of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Kevin Boyer of Gerber/Hart Gay and Lesbian Library and Archives in Chicago; Paul Varnell, writer for the Windy City Times; Torey Wilson, Chicago area teacher; Johnda Boyce, women’s studies major at Columbus State University and Jessea Greenman of UC-Berkeley. Many gay and lesbian organizations supported the concept early on. In 1995, the National Education Association indicated support of LGBT History Month as well as other history months by resolution at its General Assembly.

October was chosen by Wilson as the month for the celebration because National Coming Out Day already was established as a widely known event, on October 11, and October commemorated the first march on Washington by LGBT people in 1979. LGBT History Month is intended to encourage honesty and openness about being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Native American Heritage — Celebrated in November

November is Native American  Heritage Month and Alaska Native Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the Native American history and culture in the United States. The celebration originally began in New York State in 1916 it declared the first “American Indian Day. On August 3, 1990 President George Bush declared the first National American Indian Heritage Month.

Black History Month — Celebrated in February

Black History Month owes its beginning to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a black American man born to slave parents, who later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Throughout his studies, the scholar was perturbed by the absence of black Americans in historical texts, despite their presence in the New World since the colonial period. In 1915, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and, one year later, the Journal of Negro Life. In 1926, it was he that began Negro History Week, aiming to bring the nation’s attention to the struggles and contributions of black Americans. As part of the Nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded to a full month in 1976. Woodson originally chose the second week of February as Negro History Week because it held the birthdays of two important figures in black history – Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Asian Pacific Islander Heritage — Celebrated in April

May is National Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage month, a time to celebrate the Asian and Pacific Islander history and culture in the United States. The celebration originally began in 1978 when a Joint Resolution signed by President Jimmy Carter designated the first 10 days of May to Asian/Pacific Heritage Week. In 1990 President George H. W. Bush expanded the celebration to the entire month.

Gay and Lesbian Pride Month – Celebrated in June

On June 2, 2000, former President Bill Clinton designated the month of June as Gay and Lesbian Pride month, encouraging Americans to recognize “the joys and sorrows that the gay and lesbian movement has witnessed and the work that remains to be done. Clinton proclaimed that observing Gay and Lesbian Pride Month is one way to “celebrate the progress we have made in creating a society more inclusive and accepting of gays and lesbians.” Gay and Lesbian issues are important to everyone, for in the words of former President Clinton, they are “our colleagues and neighbors, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, friends and partners.” Observing Gay and Lesbian Pride Month is one step to understanding our differences and creating a truly inclusive society where gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and all Americans, are afforded equal rights.