MONTH LONG CELEBRATIONS
LGBT Pride Month
Established by President William Jefferson Clinton in 1999 by Proclamation 7203 to recognize the impact that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on the world and to commemorate the events of June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. To celebrate Pride Month, LGBTQA+ groups gather for parades, picnics, parties, as well as memorials for those who lost their lives to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS. The last Sunday in June is Gay Pride Day. In his Proclamation, President Clinton encouraged Americans to “…remember throughout the year the gay and lesbian Americans whose many and varied contributions have enriched our national life.”
African American Music Appreciation Month
It began in 1979 when Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams developed the idea to set aside a month dedicated to celebrating the impact of Black music. In 2009, President Barack Obama declared the start of summer as a celebration for all the Black “musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters [who] have made enormous contributions to our culture.” On May 31, 2016, President Obama officially declared the month of June as African American Music Appreciation Month.
Immigrant Heritage Month
Established in June 2014, gives people across the United States an opportunity to annually explore their own heritage and celebrate the shared diversity that shapes the unique story of America. During this month we honor immigrants across the United States and their countless contributions to their local communities and economy.
Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (USA) | June 2nd
Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act on June 2, 1924, which granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. The day celebrates the history, heritage, and culture of American Indian tribes across the country. All the tribes have their own traditions and beliefs. American Indian Citizenship Day celebrates their contribution to the country’s culture and a reminder of their enduring legacy. Yet, while this was an important date in history for Native Americans, Native Americans were not permitted to vote in all states until 1957.
Happy Birthday, Hattie McDaniel! (1893-1952) | June 10th
Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Oscar in 1940. To accept her award, she had to make her way to the stage from a segregated table at the back of the room.
Loving Day (USA) | June 12th
On this day in 1967, Loving v. Virginia struck down all anti-miscegenation laws in 16 states. This effectively ended bans on interracial marriage. The decision was sparked by Loving v. Virginia, a court case involving Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who married in 1958. Mildred and Richard started off as childhood friends and, over the years, their friendship developed into love. On her 18th birthday, in 1958, Mildred was married to Richard in Washington, after which the couple returned to their hometown. Two weeks later, they were arrested by authorities. The two were unaware that the state where they resided considered interracial marriage to be illegal. Pleading guilty, the Lovings agreed to leave Virginia and moved to Washington D.C. where they initiated the legal challenge. Their lawyers argued that laws against interracial marriage came from slavery laws, intended to oppress Black people, and based on white supremacy. Other states had similar laws. Some of these laws applied to people of other races as well. Nine years after their arrest, the Lovings won their case on June 12th, 1967 (which is why Loving Day is on June 12th and struck down all state laws against interracial marriage in the U.S. The holiday was not created until decades after the decision, in 2004
Flag Day (USA) | June 14th
Observed to celebrate the history and symbolism of the American flag.
St. Vladimir Day | June 15th
A Roman Catholic feast celebrating St. Vladimir.
Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev (Sikhs)| June 16th
Observed by members of the Sikh faith, Guru Arjan Dev was the fifth Sikh guru and the first Sikh martyr.
JUNETEENTH | June 19th
Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021 when President Joe Biden signed the bill on June 17, 2021. The bill was approved unanimously by the Senate and only 14 House Republicans opposed the measure. Juneteenth has a long history in this country. Prior to 2021, Juneteenth was observed as a public holiday in 14 U.S. states. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. For a more in-depth look at this holiday please click here: https://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm
New Church Day (Swedenborgian) | June 19th
New Church is one of many Christian denominations that developed as a new religious group, influenced by the writings of scientist and Swedish Lutheran theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. It is held by followers that on this day the Lord called together the 12 disciples who had followed him on earth, instructed them in the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, and sent them out to teach that “the Lord God Jesus Christ reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ages and ages.” This was the beginning of the New Christian Church.
Litha (Wicca, Pagan) | June 21st
One of eight sabbats, this Summer Solstice celebration takes places on the longest day of the year to honor the power of the sun. One historic ritual includes setting large wheels on fire and rolling them down a hill into a body of water representing the sun’s “annual retreat.”
Happy Birthday, Helen Keller! (1880 - 1968) | June 27th
Deaf and blind by 19 months, Keller’s life has inspired untold numbers of people to overcome disabilities and/or other hardships in their lives. Helen achieved respect for people with disabilities, while encouraging others to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Day (US) | June 24th
Traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday in June to commemorate the momentous Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969. “The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, began in the early hours of June 28, 1969 when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets and in nearby Christopher Park. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.”
Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul(Eastern Orthodox Christianity) | June 29th
A Liturgical feast in honor of the martyrdom in Rome for the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul
- https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/how-juneteenth-s-history-being-reshaped-america-reckons-its-past-n1231510 Image: Diana Ejaita / for NBC News
- History.com Editors. (2020). Stonewall Riots. History.com. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/gay-rights/the-stonewall-riots
- Bettmann Archive/Getty Images