July Days to Remember

Summertime! We hope y’all have exciting summer holidays planned because, no matter what’s going on in the world, you deserve joy and it’s your job to make sure you add it to your life. Given summer’s here and folks forget what they’ve learned over the past year (children especially with summer learning loss), we’ll remind you that our Days to Remember, a recognition of both US and Portuguese holidays, celebrate the people and commemorations that have contributed to making the world a better place. Here’s some stuff for your radar for July. Happy summer!

Saturday, July 1

Social Wellness Month 

With summer break in full effect, there’s no better time to get out and get social! Our firm believes in the overall well-being of a person and the inherent rights to resources. That’s why we support social wellness month, which was created by a group of mental health professionals wanting to increase awareness about the importance of social wellness. Having a healthy social network can help people live longer and better physical and mental health. This month may give you the time and space needed to form healthy social habits that you can implement all year for years to come.

Sunday, July 2

Civil Rights Act signed into law (1964)

Did you know some civil rights leaders considered the 1964 Civil Rights Act to be a much-desired “second Emancipation Proclamation”? The Act outlawed discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, and religion in various settings. This led to related acts being passed, particularly for voting and housing. Now, sadly in recent years, many rights have come under attack. Things like voter suppression in the form of stricter voter ID laws and state restrictions have disproportionately impacted voters of color. And housing discrimination which has pushed many people of color away from predominantly white suburbs grew under the Trump administration. Those looking for ways to fight back should consider Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight against voter suppression. 

Birth of Sylvia Rivera (1951)

We support trans rights, including the inherent human rights of trans children. We’re excited about the legacy and hard work that Sylvia Rivera did, and we support organizations that are continuing the fight today. So of course, we think this day should be a national holiday! Born and raised in New York City, Rivera was instrumental to the gay rights movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s. When she and fellow advocate — Marsha P. Johnson — founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), they helped homeless LGBTQIA youth. Rivera died in 2002; she and Johnson are being honored with a new monument in NYC. Visit the Sylvia Rivera Law Project to learn more about her life and work.

Tuesday, July 4

Independence Day (United States)

On the 4th of July, we commemorate the birth of a nation that boldly declared its freedom and set forth on a path of self-governance. This day is a testament to the courage and vision of the Founding Fathers who sought to establish a society built on principles of liberty, equality, and justice. And in the spirit of “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many, one – we come together as a diverse nation, celebrating our shared values and the collective strength that arises from our unity.

The United Church of Christ voted to support same-sex marriage.

Cheers to religious entities that choose love over hate. In fact, there are many of them like Catholics for Choice, Unitarian Universalists, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and others including the one we celebrate today. In 2005, the United Church of Christ (UCC) became the first major Protestant denomination to formally support marriage equality. In their official statement, the church affirmed equal marriage rights. They also discouraged government interference in marital relationships. The UCC’s marriage equality platform stands as part of its overall commitment to being an open and affirming denomination.

Sunday, July 9

14th Amendment to Constitution Ratified (1868)

The 14th Amendment is a significant piece of Reconstruction-era legislation. It gave all people who were born or naturalized in the United States the right to citizenship. This was true for people whether they were enslaved since birth, descendants of enslaved persons, or free people. The Amendment also established the rights to due process and equal protection under the laws. The rights have been used to support many civil rights cases, including:

The 14th Amendment was the basis upon which Roe v. Wade was fought. And now, that the Supreme Court of the United States has overturned Roe, the conservative court may seek to overturn the cases listed above and many others. The dissenting judges in the Dobbs decision stated, “Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.”

Wednesday, July 12

Birth of Malala Yousafzai (1997)

The year was 2012. Headlines around the world reported that 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban. They specifically targeted her because she advocated for girls to attend school. Since recovering from her injuries, Malala has become a world-renowned human rights activist, author, and sought-after speaker. In 2014, she and her father created the Malala Fund, a charity dedicated to ensuring girls around the world have access to education. That same year, in recognition of her work, she made history as the youngest Nobel Laureate. She later went on to become an Oxford University grad, and recently announced in April that she’s working on a new memoir that will explore her journey to recovery and her search for identity.

Sunday, July 16

Birth of Ida B. Wells (1862)

During a time when women were expected to be seen but not heard, journalist, civil rights activist, and speaker Ida B. Wells was an accomplished journalist. She wrote many articles on the effect of Jim Crow laws on the Black community. She also wrote several heavily researched pamphlets exposing truths behind lynchings and other anti-Black violence. Ensuring Black women’s participation in the political process was especially important to her, and she ran for a seat in the Illinois Senate. She helped found the NAACP, though it has been reported that she did not like the leadership and direction of the organization. Ida B. Wells died in 1931.

Tuesday, July 18

Birth of Nelson Mandela (1918)

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of his death. Born Rolihlahla Mandela, Nelson Mandela was a lawyer, a freedom fighter, a human rights activist, a Nobel Prize winner, a president, and ultimately, a global icon. He spent much of his life fighting against apartheid, eventually receiving a lifelong prison sentence for his advocacy. Mandela became the face of the anti-apartheid movement worldwide, and much of the world celebrated his release from jail in 1990. After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, he was elected as South Africa’s first Black, democratically elected president the following year. He served one term, then created the Nelson Mandela and Mandela Rhodes Foundations. Despite all he did and the accolades, like Martin Luther King Jr., he wasn’t universally loved during his lifetime. These men stood for what was right, even when people called them radical for expecting basic human rights for all. Let his legacy be an inspiration for all who are fighting for positive change today. You’re going to be on the right side of history.

Monday, July 24

D.C. newspaper exposes the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

On this date in 1972, the Washington Star News newspaper broke a horrifying story. Here’s what happened — For 40 years, the government had conducted an unethical study on the effects of syphilis on 600+ Black men from rural Alabama. Known informally as the “Tuskegee Syphilis Study,” nearly 400 Black men living with the disease were denied treatment. While the unethical practices had not been secret, the study only became widely known when a whistleblower — upset by government inaction — leaked to a reporter. The government issued a formal apology for the study in 1997. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we could see a return to the days when stuff like Tuskeegee happened. For example, Buck v. Bell makes it legal to forcibly sterilize people without their consent. Skinner v. Oklahoma curbed that, but it was fought on the same basis as Roe, the 14th Amendment.

Tuesday, July 25

Birth of Maria Weston Chapman (1806)

We have another notable person for your radar: writer and abolitionist Maria Weston Chapman. She was a white woman and was introduced to the anti-slavery movement by her husband Henry Chapman, then she dedicated the rest of her life to abolition efforts. A prominent fundraiser for anti-slavery organizations in New England, she also helped found the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society. Chapman also worked closely with prominent abolitionist William Garrison, editing his publication The Liberator. She also wrote and edited several other books, pamphlets, and anthologies, many focusing on slavery and women’s rights. She died on July 12, 1885. 

Despite her historical example, white women made up the majority (55%) of individuals who voted for Trump in 2020. Sadly, these women seem to support white supremacy likely because they think the power they have as a white person will shield them from the harms of sexism. This phenomenon can be explained by this TikTok.

Wednesday, July 26

The Americans with Disability Act is signed.

On this day in 1990 — 17 years after the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 —Congress passed the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). The purpose of the ADA is to prevent discrimination against disabled people in workplaces, transportation, housing, public spaces, and other public accommodations. The law covers short-lived and permanent mental and physical disabilities. The ADA was eventually bolstered by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. This Act expanded the definition of “disability” and required all employers with 15+ people to comply with prevailing anti-discrimination laws.

We hope these “days to remember” inspire you and that you have a great summer! If your organization is working on the kinds of causes that we’ve highlighted here, get in touch to see how we can partner with you.