It’s here! Check out Twanna’s curated list of holidays, awareness campaigns, and cultural celebrations taking place this month. Stay timely and learn more about the wide variety of May days to remember.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, May 1 – 31
The last year has been a banner one for Asian American representation in pop culture! Whether it be Sandra Oh’s long overdue recognition to the critical and financial success of Crazy Rich Asians, we hope to see more representation of the diverse AAPI community both on- and off-screen. During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we reflect on the challenges and celebrate the contributions the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have made to this country. (Speaking of Crazy Rich Asians, the film’s screenwriter has a lot of great things to say about inclusion in the film industry. If you missed what he said, it means you’re not signed up for our founder’s newsletter. Don’t miss out! Sign up here.)
Hepatitis Awareness Month, May 1 – 31
Did you know that hepatitis means “inflammation of the liver”? Is most often caused by a virus? That there are five types of hepatitis viruses? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. The goal of Hepatitis Awareness Month is to counter misinformation and to inform people about the causes, symptoms, and effects of Hepatitis. Learn more information about the medical condition here. #HepAware19
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, May 1 – 31
Luckily, thanks to birth control, it is easier to space and time pregnancies. But, sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world. Low levels of sex education in the US and barriers to access to health care contribute to these high numbers. So, we know this is true: Teens and young adults should be able to learn and access sexual health resources. Visit sex-positive organization The Power to Decide to learn more about work in this area.
National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 1 – 7
This is a week to appreciate folks who have devoted part of their lives to educate others. We’d particularly like to recognize teachers who provide age-appropriate sex education. These educators often face decreased funding and restrictions on what can actually be taught. Need some ideas on thanking the teachers in your life? Check these out. Several stores and restaurants are offering freebies and specials as well. #ThankATeacher
National Women’s Health Week, May 8 – 14
We believe the spirit of this week should honor all gender identities that traditionally experience barriers to excellent health — we’re looking at YOU if you’re a woman, transgender, nonbinary, or someone who otherwise doesn’t automatically receive better treatment due to their gender! “Health” includes access to medical care, exercise, healthy relationships, and sexual health. You can find health- and wellness-centered events all over the country this week. Not into events? Here are some steps you can take towards a healthier lifestyle over this seven-day period.
Sunday, May 1
Here at FUNKY BROWN CHICK, Inc., we support unions and workers’ rights! May 1 has a long association with the U.S. labor movement. More than a century after the first May Day protests, May 1 is still a flashpoint in the constant struggle for workers’ rights. Protests around the country are already scheduled for the day. However, there are many more conventional celebrations being held if you prefer a less confrontational approach.
Tuesday, May 3
World Press Freedom Day
Here and abroad, journalists and other media figures often find themselves literally and figuratively under attack by those seeking to silence them. The purpose of World Press Freedom Day is to advocate for freedom of expression and safety for the press. To learn more about where individual countries rank in terms of press freedom, look at the 2019 World Press Freedom Index.
Wednesday, May 4
Keith Haring’s Birthday (1958)
Artist Keith Haring became a darling of the downtown NYC art scene before reaching worldwide fame with his quirky, movement-inspired artwork. A celeb in the early to mid ‘80s, his work often touched on social messages. Sadly, Haring died in 1990 of AIDS-related complications. He left behind a legacy of art as activism for all to embrace. Art can play an effective role in advocacy work. Our founder will be hosting a June event with Women Deliver on the power of the arts to create social change. You can learn more about the event or register here.
Sunday, May 8
We recognize this day as one to celebrate mothers of all kinds of families. However, we want to acknowledge the very real pain for those who currently may not or may never have had motherly figures in their lives for whatever reason. If this day is tough for you, escape the “mother love orgy” on everyone’s social media and read this instead.
Monday, May 9
A day to celebrate peace and unity throughout Europe. On Europe Day, the public is invited to visit their local European Union office or attend any number of artistic and political events. Fun fact: Did you know our founder staged a one-woman show about her European “excursions”? She has more artistic ventures in the works; sign up for her newsletter to learn more.
FDA Approves “The Pill” (1960)
While various birth control methods have been used throughout history, modern history was made when John Rock, a devout Catholic, developed what is now known as “the pill.” On this day in history, the FDA approved Enovid-10, the first world’s first medically-sanctioned, commercially-available oral contraceptive. Being able to control if, when, and how many children to have was a development that revolutionized society. The pill continues to positively impact lives now.
Tuesday, May 10
Victoria Woodhull runs for president (1872)
In 1871, publisher and activist Victoria Woodhull declared her intention to run for president. Formally nominated by the Equal Rights Party the next year, she became the first U.S. woman to mount a presidential campaign. Notably, she chose Frederick Douglass as her running mate, but without getting his consent. In the 100+ years since Woodhull’s campaign, we’ve had the first African-American woman to run for president (Shirley Chisolm); the first woman vice president candidate (Geraldine Ferraro); and the first woman major party nominee (Hilary Clinton). Currently, a record five women have announced their candidacy for 2020.
Thursday, May 12
United States ex rel. Standing Bear v. Crook (1879)
This case arose out of the forced relocation of the Ponca people. After his arrest for leaving an Oklahoma reservation (to bury his son), Standing Bear, leader of the Ponca people, sued the government. Judge Elmer S. Dundy ruled that Native Americans were people within the color of the law, and that Standing Bear’s right to free movement as a human had been violated. This case was the first to recognize the humanity of Native Americans under federal law. More than 100 years later, for the first time, there are two Native American woman lawmakers in Congress.
Sunday, May 15
Paragraph 175 of German Criminal Code Criminalizes Sex Acts Between Men
Created in 1871, this law made “penetrative” sexual activity between men illegal. Nazis expanded the definition of illegal sexual behavior, citing the act as a justification to jail and kill gay Germans. People were encouraged to report their neighbors, employees, even passerby. The law was weakened in the ‘60s and ‘70s but wasn’t repealed until 1994. If you’re counting, yes, the law remained on the books for over 120 years. History reminds us not to look the other way when evil approaches, simply because we may not be part of the targeted group. Thedocumentary Paragraph 175 shares the personal stories of gay and lesbian Holocaust survivors.
Tuesday, May 17
Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education (1954)
After several lawsuits in various states, it was a Supreme Court case in Topeka, Kansas that ultimately led to school desegregation. Images of African-Americans integrating various schools were published nationwide. The ruling spurred continued advocacy during the Civil Rights Movement. However, for all the progress made, resegregation — particularly of public schools — has become a modern-day challenge.
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
Homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia can lead to acts of discrimination and violence and have no place in a fair-minded society. International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia was founded by advocate, lecturer, and editor Louis-Georges Tin. The goal of the day is to raise awareness of the effects of bias and to encourage advocacy around issues affecting the LGBTQIA community. Interesting fact: May 17 was chosen because the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases on May 17, 1990.
HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
We at FUNKY BROWN CHICK, Inc. are excited about the potential for a cure for HIV! HIV Vaccine Awareness Day recognizes the various scientists, health professionals, and volunteers working to create a vaccine for HIV. Another goal of this day is to educate the public on the need for a vaccine. While a cure is needed, current medical efforts have positively affected many of those living with HIV. In fact, the oldest known person living with HIV turned 100 last year.
Thursday, May 19
Malcolm X’s Birthday (1925)
“I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action.” So said minister, speaker, and vaunted civil rights leader Malcolm X. Born Malcolm Little on this date in 1925, his life and work continue to inspire people today. Learn more about his life, views, and death through the timeless classic The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
The CDC estimates that in 2015, 15,800 Asians were living with HIV in the U.S. In addition, HIV diagnoses increased 51% over a four-year period for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders. The CDC and the Banyan Tree Project established this day to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in the AAPI community. A further goal of this day is to combat stigma. Learn more about how you can get involved.
National Hepatitis Testing Day
The goal of today is to encourage everyone to get tested for the various strands of Hepatitis. According to the CDC, millions of Americans are unaware that they have a form of the disease. If left untreated, this can result in liver damage. See if you need to get tested — take the CDC’s Hepatitis Risk Assessment. Be #HepAware
Yuri Kochiyama’s Birthday (1921)
If you could describe Yuri Kochiyama’s life in one word, it would be “ally.” She protested in support of independence for Puerto Rico; advocated for the incarcerated; and sought reparations for Japanese-American internees. Through her activism, she eventually became close with Malcolm X, and was present when he was assassinated. Like her mentor, she, too courted controversy with some of her statements. Yuri Kochiyama died in 2014 at the age of 93.
Saturday, May 21
World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
We love cultural diversity! Also known as “Diversity Day,” on this day we appreciate the uniqueness of cultures worldwide. We also recognize the need for intercultural dialogue. Cultural diversity is an asset that leads to greater economic and social development. Read more on why cultural diversity matters.
Sunday, May 22
Harvey Milk’s birthday (1930)
Harvey Milk’s road to political activism didn’t come naturally or quickly. But this “born politician” eventually became a loud and proud advocate for the LGBTQIA community. He ran for office several times before his history-making election to become San Francisco city supervisor. Milk’s 1978 assassination — by a fellow politician no less — reminds us of the potentially deadly consequences that can come from demonizing political figures.
Richard Oakes’s Birthday (1942)
A member of the Mohawk Nation, much of Richard Oakes’s advocacy is considered integral to the “Red Power” movement of the 1960s and ‘70s. In 1969, he helped spearheaded a 19-month occupation of Alcatraz prison. The goal of the occupation was to protest the Indian Termination policy and reclaim the island for Native peoples. He also helped establish one of the country’s first Native American studies departments. His life ended tragically in 1972, after a suspected white supremacist shot and killed him.
Sunday, May 29
Sojourner Truth delivers “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech (1851)
Human rights activist and preacher Sojourner Truth delivered this famous speech at the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention. While the title of the speech has been questioned, its content — on human rights for all women generally, and the lack of humanity and privilege afforded to Black women specifically — sadly resonates today.
Monday, May 30
As one of the most popular May days to remember, we pay tribute to the sacrifices of U.S. servicewomen and men. Originally called “Decoration Day,” the first informal observances of the holiday were held after the Civil War. A 1968 act of Congress cemented the observance as an official federal holiday to be held on the last Monday in May. In light of the Transgender Military Ban, this year we specifically seek to honor, uplift, and advocate for our transgender troops.