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October 2023 Cultural Events

LGBTQ+ History Month

LgbtqA month-long celebration of the history and achievements of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, and the importance of the gay-rights movement. U.S. observance was created in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school history teacher. The month of October was selected to coincide with National Coming Out Day, which is celebrated on October 11th, and the anniversary of the first march for gay rights, which took place in Washington on October 14, 1979.

For many schools across the county, LGBTQ+ History Month includes an Ally Week—a student-led action during which students organize events encouraging people to become allies against anti-LGBTQ+ language, bullying, and harassment in schools.

This month celebrates the achievements of 31 LGBTQ+ icons, with a new icon being featured each day throughout the month of October. Check out their website for the list of the 2023 Icons, complete with their biographies.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month
2023 Theme: “Advancing Access & Equity.”

USDA established the TARGET Center 30 years ago to support the Department’s workforce diversity and Federal Workforce policies. The USDA TARGET Center addresses a wide spectrum of accessibility and accommodation interests, including assistive technology accommodations for individuals with disabilities, ergonomic design and injury prevention, partnerships to improve disability diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) and the expansion of innovative practices to enhance USDA’s employer of choice capability.

Global Diversity Awareness Month

Global DiversityAfter the Second World War, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot, in Paris. The Declaration represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled.

This month-long celebration seeks to bring awareness and pay tribute to the diversity of cultures and ethnicities around the world, highlighting the positive impact diversity can have on society by embracing the values and perspectives of various cultures.

October 1st- Jerry Rescue Day

This observance celebrates the rescue of William Jerry Henry. Known as “Jerry,” Henry was a fugitive slave who was captured in Syracuse, New York, but freed from jail on October 1, 1851, with the help of abolitionists. Around noon on October 1, federal marshals from Rochester, Auburn, Syracuse, and Canandaigua, accompanied by the local police, arrested Jerry who was working as a barrel maker, at his workplace. Word of the arrest quickly reached the New York State Convention of the anti-slavery Liberty Party. An immediate effort to free Jerry was unsuccessful, and though he escaped to the street in irons, he was rapidly recaptured. Later that evening a crowd of abolitionists stormed the prison and Jerry was surrendered. Jerry was hidden in the city for several days in the home of a local butcher known for his anti-abolitionist sentiments, and later taken in a wagon to Oswego, where he crossed Lake Ontario into Canada.

October 2nd

On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first Black justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to becoming a Supreme Court justice himself, Thurgood Marshall argued more than a dozen cases before the U.S. Supreme—most notably, the groundbreaking 1954 case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional.

October 3rd

In 1974, baseball Hall of Famer, Frank Robinson, became the first African American to manage a major league baseball team after being hired by the Cleveland Indians. He has the distinction of being the first Black manager in both the American and National Leagues.

October 7th

In 1993,Toni Morrison became the first black American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her work explored Black Identity in America. In particular, the experience of black women.

October 10th- World Mental Health Day

First celebrated in 1993, this day is meant to increase public awareness about the importance of mental health, mental health services, and mental health workers worldwide. It provides the opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to discuss their work. It also advocates for what should be done to make mental healthcare a reality for people worldwide.

October 10th- Indigenous Peoples’ Day (US)

Indigenous Peoeple DayIn 1992, Berkeley, CA became the first city to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day, to honor Native American people, their history, and their culture. Beginning in 1992 drums across the USA and in different time zones coordinate ceremonies and observances at 12 p.m. to celebrate and honor 500 years of North American Indigenous people’s resistance and survival. From that day to the present, Native Americans observe Indigenous People’s Day, not Columbus Day. Indigenous People’s Day began in 1989 in South Dakota, where Lynn Hart and Governor Mickelson backed a resolution to celebrate Native American day on the second Monday of October, marking the beginning of the year of reconciliation in 1990. It was instituted in Berkeley, CA, in 1992, to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Two years later, Santa Cruz, CA, instituted the holiday, and in the 2010s, various other cities and states took it up. It is similar to Native American Day, observed in September in California and Tennessee.

October 11th- National Coming Out Day (US)

Celebrated on a yearly basis, National Coming Out Day is a time for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer to finally be open and proud about who they are to their loved ones and community. This day celebrates the monumental moment of “coming out” (a term stemming from the phrase “come out of the closet”) to friends, family, and the world about one’s sexuality.

October 12th- La Fiesta Nacional de Espana (Spain)

Also known as Spanish National Day, this date (“Columbus Day,” U.S.), remembers the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas, a day with complex controversial meanings. In Spain, the day is commemorated because it symbolizes the expansion of Spanish language and culture beyond European borders. It is observed in a variety of ways and called a variety of names in much of Latin America, the U.S., and Spain. For example, while October 12 is still known as el Dia de la Raza in some Latin American countries, including Mexico, other Latin American countries have changed the name to honor diversity or celebrate indigenous heritage (such as the Día de las Culturas in Costa Rica or the Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural in Argentina).

October 14th- The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights (1979)

On this day in 1979, thousands of LGBTQ+ members and allies gathered in Washington, D.C. to demand equal civil rights and urge the passage of protective civil rights legislation. Since the original march in 1979, the LGBTQ+ community and its allies have marched on the nation's capital on numerous other occasions, including in 1987, 1993, 2000, and 2009.

October 14, 1964

Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership in the American civil rights movement. At just 35 years of age, the Georgia-born minister was the youngest person ever to receive the award.

October 16, 1940

Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. became the first black general in the United States Army.

October 16, 1995

The Million Man March, the idea of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, called the event held in Washington, D.C., “A Day of Atonement and Reconciliation.” The march was described as a call to black men to take charge in rebuilding their communities and show more respect for themselves and devotion to their families.

October 17th- Black Poetry Day

Observed annually, this is a day to honor past and present black poets.

October 17th

Jupiter Hammon, the first published black poet in the United States, was born in Long Island, New York, on October 17, 1711. In honor of Hammon’s birth, we celebrate the contributions of all African Americans to the world of poetry.

October 17th- LGBTQ+ Spirit Day

LGBTQ+ youth face a disproportionate amount of bullying and harassment. Join millions of Americans by wearing purple on this day to show your support for LGBTQ+ youth and to speak out against bullying and harassment.

October 18th- International Pronouns Day

Held annually on the third Wednesday of October, this day seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Show your support by using the #PronounsDay hashtag to tell your community and the world why it's important to use the correct pronouns for everyone.

October 29th- Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education(1969)

The Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools had to end at once and that unitary school systems were required. The Alexander v. Holmes case was brought by Beatrice Alexander, on behalf of her children, after she sued the Holmes County, Mississippi School District. Her lawyer was Jack Greenberg of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that schools in the U.S. had to desegregate “immediately,” instead of the previous ruling from 1955 in Brown v. Board of Education II which called for “with all deliberate speed.” The terminology “with all deliberate speed” was exploited by those in the South who emphasized “deliberate” over “speed” which resulted in on-going segregation of schools.

National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in 1966 to take action to bring about equality for all women. The foundation focuses on a broad range of women’s rights issues, including economic justice, pay equity, racial discrimination, women’s health & body image, women with disabilities, reproductive rights & justice, family law, marriage & family formation rights of same-sex couples, representation of women in the media, and global feminist issues.

October 31st- All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween)

A celebration observed in a number of countries on the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed. It is also Reformation Day, the day that Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castel Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517.