August Celebrations and Culture

Traditionally August marks the end of summer. Families are squeezing in those last-minute vacations before the school year resumes and friends are capitalizing on the opportunity to spend evenings and weekends outside before the season changes.  

While there are no federal holidays this month, there are still several causes for celebration. There are even rumors that parents gather on the first day of school in restaurants and bars across America to celebrate the return of their precious children to the classroom. That is of course speculation, and therefore cannot be officially considered a cause for national celebration. There are, however, a few other noteworthy causes worthy of discussion, so let’s dig in.  

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 

August 9th was established as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People by the United Nations General Assembly on December 23, 1994. The date August 9th commemorates the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations held in Geneva in 1982.  

Indigenous peoples practice unique cultures and ways of relating to society and the environment. There are an estimated 476 million indigenous peoples living across 90 countries. They have inherited and kept social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that honor their ancestral traditions creating a distinction from the mainstream societies in which they live. Indigenous peoples from around the world have distinct cultural differences, however, they share common problems related to the protection of their rights. While being less than 5% of the world’s population, they account for 15% of the poorest people. 

“Indigenous peoples have sought recognition of their identities, their way of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources for years. Yet, throughout history, their rights have been violated. Indigenous peoples today, are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world. The international community now recognizes that special measures are required to protect their rights and maintain their distinct cultures and way of life,” writes

The celebration of this day recognizes the challenges faced by indigenous peoples as it relates to poverty, education, human rights, health, social and economic development, and the environment. 

Women’s Equality Day 

August 26th was named as Women’s Equality Day to commemorate the certification of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. This day not only commemorates voting rights, but also highlights the need for women’s equality in all areas of life. 

Reflection upon the significance of this day does highlight the fact that women are still fighting for equity in pay, the right to make their own medical decisions, the ability to climb the corporate ladder,be treated fairly despite their sex and many other public and private privileges in comparison to their male counterparts. 

While the rights of women have come a long way since the right for women’s suffrage, there is still much work to be done to ensure the full rights on women in the United States.  

National Breastfeeding Month 

National Breastfeeding Month was established to bring awareness to the complexities associated with breastfeeding or chestfeeding experienced by mothers or birthing people. 2022 presents added challenges as we tackle a nationwide formula shortage in addition to a lack of federal protection for pregnant and postpartum workers. Breastfeeding parents need access to the proper accommodations in the workplace to express milk while on the job, including the time and sanitary spaces to do so.  

Why is breastfeeding so important? Breastfeeding is the most healthy, nutritious way to feed a child supplying both nutrients and antibodies. Research has found that it reduces the chances of SIDS, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and several other ailments. The benefits associated with breast milk are extensive including good nutrition, poverty reduction and food security. 

Support in the workplace for people that express milk promotes the health of both the postpartum person and the child. Companies can support their employees by removing barriers including supplying clean, private areas to express and store milk, and establish flexible work schedules. 

National Minority Donor Awareness 

National Minority Donor Awareness month highlights the importance of organ and tissue donation in multicultural communities. Minority populations of focus include African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American. 

Donor awareness in minority communities is important because they statistically have the lowest number of organ donors. Obstacles to donation include lack of transplant awareness, distrust of the medical community, misperceptions related to religious beliefs, fear of premature declaration of death because the individual is an organ donor, and fear of racism. 

While minority communities do have legitimate concerns based on historical occurrences such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, history does not negate the current need for minority donors.  

Understanding the facts surrounding organ donation is critical to meet the need of potential transplant recipients. Organ donation saves lives and provides hope to individuals in need. Have any questions? Review the FAQ sheet for more information. 

Black Business Month 

Historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan Sr founded National Black Business Month in August 2004 to “drive the policy agenda affecting the 2.6 million African-American businesses.” 

Black Business Month highlights and empowers the Black business community and recognizes the unique challenges that they face. There is an ongoing push to create equity in the business space where Black businesses struggle to gain access to funding from financial institutions.  

Black-owned businesses have been around since the 1700s when both free and enslaved African created small businesses centered around skilled trades. That foundation led to the establishment of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK in the 1920s and eventually the first billion-dollar company, TLC International Holding in the 1980s.  

Interested in supporting a black-owned business? Consider shopping small and supporting a business in your city. You can share a positive experience with a Black-owned business on social media, be intentional about setting aside dollars to spend annually, build relationships with Black business owners, and use Black-owned business directories. 

Summer may be ending, but the opportunities to learn and grow aren’t dependent on getting back to the classroom. Join us in continuing to celebrate the occasions that August has to offer.