Fall is upon us and if you are lover of pumpkin, especially pumpkin spice lattes, your time is now! As we prepare to break out our favorite jeans and cozy sweaters, we also have several cultural opportunities to celebrate.
Labor Day is always the first Monday in September for the U.S. and Canada. As a federal holiday, most of us typically get the day off.
What exactly is Labor Day? Do you work an 8-hour workday? Is there a break schedule that provides 30-minute lunch breaks? Do you receive paid vacation time and weekends off? All these benefits are the result of a long-fought battle of labor unions and the labor movement to establish basic benefits for employees that we still enjoy today.
The history of Labor Day dates to initiatives started in 1882 when laborers worked as many as 18-20 hours daily. The intense conditions of employment sparked protests, strikes and boycotts which led to government intervention and the establishment of employment laws and the actual holiday.
The first Monday in September is a day to reflect on the contributions that our workforce has made to the economic success of our country.
September 11, 2001 (also known as nine eleven) was a devastating day in American history. Four planes were hijacked and used to complete acts of terrorism by crashing them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. The fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The planned route for the fourth plane was never discovered.
As a result of this horrific act, roughly 3,000 people lost their lives including passengers of the planes, people inside of the buildings, and first responders.
To honor those that were lost, flags are flown at half-staff and there is a national moment of silence at 8:46 AM EST, the time which the first plane crashed into the first Twin Tower.
National Voter Registration Day
September 20 is a day that offers Americans the opportunity to come together in a nonpartisan effort to celebrate democracy. National Voter Registration Day is a reminder to ensure that your registration details are up to date if you are already registered, or to get registered if you have not already done so. It also works to remove barriers to registration and educate those that may not be familiar with the importance of submitting on time and updated registration.
If you are a registered voter, ensure that all your registration details are up to date and then tell a family member or friend to do the same.
If you are not registered, get registered here.
International Equal Pay Day
The United Nations established September 18 as International Equal Pay Day to celebrate the continued efforts to achieve equal pay for equal work. Equal pay is a part of their continuous commitment to fight for gender equality and closing the gender pay gap.
Currently women earn $.77 for every dollar earned by a man. The pay gap also varies by race, ethnicity, and disability. How can this be rectified? Employers must evaluate job descriptions and seniority and ensure that pay is in alignment with skills and not based on sex.
Celebrating equal pay means enacting fair practices for evaluating salaries in the workplace and ensuring that race, gender, and disability are not factors in determining pay.
International Day of Peace
The theme for the 2022 International Day of Peace is ‘End Racism. Build peace.” In 1981 the United Nations General Assembly established September 21 as the day to observe a 24-hour period of non-violence and cease-fire.
This day signifies the hope of peace through not only nonviolence, but also by building the foundation for societies where all its members are treated equally.
“Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and… the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.” -Secretary General Antonio Guterres
The UN is working to dismantle racism and support equality through education and reparatory justice to create, “A world where compassion and empathy overcome suspicion and hatred. A world that we can truly be proud of.” -un.org
Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month was established to celebrate the heritage, history, and contributions of Hispanic Americans with ancestors from the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico, and Spain.
September 15 marks the start of the month extending through October 15, signifying the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. The independence days of Mexico and Chile fall on September 16 and September 18, respectively, followed by Día de la Raza or Columbus Day on October 12.
This holiday began as a weeklong holiday in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. The importance of the contributions of the Latin community gained widespread support during the civil rights movement. The holiday was later extended to a 30-day celebration by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
During this month there are food festivals, parades, concerts, and art exhibitions that celebrate Latino and Hispanic American contributions to our nation’s economy and culture.