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May 2023 Cultural Events

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants.

Mental Health Awareness Month

fight the stigma logo Aims to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses and reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses

 image of RGBJewish American Heritage Month

Celebrating and recognizing the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture. Hundreds or organizations around the U.S. will join together to help Americans of all backgrounds discover, explore, and celebrate the vibrant and varied American Jewish experience.

Jewish American Supreme Court Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg [pictured left]

May 1, 1950

Gwendolyn Brooks becomes the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, named Library of Congress’s Consultant in Poetry (later called Poet Laureate) in 1985.

May 5th- Cinco de Mayo (Mexico)

Commemoration of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). This day celebrates Mexican culture and heritage, including parades and mariachi music performances.

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May 12, 1968- Mother's Day March

people marching Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a month earlier, Coretta Scott King, accompanied by Ethel Kennedy, sustained her late husband’s “ Poor People’s Campaign” and lead the first wave of demonstrators, thousands of “welfare mothers” on a march through Washington D.C., protesting inequality of wages and demanding economic justice. The Poor People’s Campaign was aimed establishing a fair minimum wage and opportunities for education, not only for Black Americans, but Native American, Puerto Rican, Mexican American, and poor white communities, who pledged themselves to the worthwhile campaign.

May 13th

people in a room The following day, Resurrection City, a temporary settlement of tents and impermanent shacks, was built on the Mall in Washington, D.C. where they stayed in demonstration for over a month. The funeral procession of assassinated Senator, Robert Kennedy, who, along with his wife, Ethel, had been a public supporter of the campaign, passed through Resurrection City as a nod to the protestors and in posthumous support of American minorities’ right to a decent life, respect for their culture and dignity.

Pictured Left: Coretta Scott King in Resurrection City [Bob Fitch photography archive, © Stanford University Libraries]

old phot of a woman in uniformMay 15, 1970 (USA)old photo of a woman in uniform

Anna Mae Hays [left] and Elizabeth P. Hoisington [right] officially receive their ranks as U.S. Army Generals, becoming the first women in US history to do so.

May 17th

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, a global celebration of sexual-orientation and gender diversities. The 17th celebrates the date chosen to honor the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classifications of Diseases of the WHO in 1990. On this day, 132 countries coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights. You can celebrate by reading up on the terminology so you can talk about the issues confidently in the workplace.

May 17, 1954- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (USA)

The United States Supreme Court issued its decision, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, prohibiting school segregation and overturning Plessy v. Ferguson the Supreme Court opinion which gave legal backing to the concept of separate but equal public facilities for black people.

May 19th- HAPPY BIRTHDAY MALCOM X (1925-1965)

malcom xBorn in Omaha, Nebraska, this future civil rights leader lost his father at the very young age of six. Malcom’s mother suffered mental illness and following the loss of his father, her psychological condition deteriorated significantly. When Malcom was 14, she was institutionalized in the State Mental Hospital at Kalamazoo. She remained there for 26 years.

Although he excelled in school, he lost interest when a teacher told him that he should become a carpenter rather than a lawyer. He soon became involved in petty criminal activities and eventually was sentenced to prison. While in prison Malcolm joined the Nation of Islam and replaced his last name with X, a custom among followers as they considered their last names to be that of white slave owners. While in prison, Malcolm educated himself by spending long hours reading and memorizing a dictionary.

 image of malcomUpon his release from prison, he rose up in the ranks of the Nation of Islam, establishing temples for the organization. Amidst the height of the Civil Rights Movement, from 1955 to 1965, Malcolm challenged Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call for integration and nonviolence and argued for Black independence, civil disobedience and defending oneself “by any means necessary.” By 1963, tensions arose between Malcom and the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, about the political direction of the Nation. Malcom traveled to Mecca in 1964 and converted to Sunni Islam, adopting the Muslim name, el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. He began to receive death threats from the Nation of Islam and was assassinated on February 21, 1965. His ideas and speeches contributed to the development of Black nationalism and the Black Power Movement.

May 21, 1932

 image of AmeliaAmelia Earhart Putnam becomes the first woman to complete a solo-transatlantic flight by flying 2,026 miles from Newfoundland to Ireland in just under 15 hours.

May 21st- World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (United Nations)

A day set aside by the United Nations as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together in harmony.

May 26th- Buddha Purnima orVesak (Buddhist)

 image of celebrationBuddhists in South Asia and Southeast Asia as well as Tibet and Mongolia celebrate Gautama Buddha’s life on this day, memorializing the birth, enlightenment, and death of Lord Buddha. According to the Hindu Calendar, it is celebrated on a full moon day of month Vaishakha.


Mamiya, L. (2020). Retrieved from