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January (3rd Monday) - Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February is - Black History Month
February 21st - Heritage Day
March 8th - International Womens Day
March 21st - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
March 21-28 - Week of Solidarity with Peoples Struggling Against Racism and Racial Discrimination
May 5 - Holocaust Memorial Day/Yom ha-Shoah
May 5 - South Asian Arrival Day
May 17 - National Day Against Homophobia
June 5 - World Environment Day
June 11-18 National Pride Week
June 20 - World Refugee Day
June 21 - National Aboriginal Day
July 1st - Canada Day
August 1st - Proclamation of Emancipation Day in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
August 9th - International Day of the World's Indigenous People
August 12th - International Youth Day
September 8th - International Literacy Day
October 17th - International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
November 20th - Universal Children’s Day
November 25th - International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women
December December 2nd - International Day & for the Abolition of Slavery
December 3rd - International Day of Disabled Persons
December 6th - National Day of Rememberance and Action on Violence Against Women
December 10th - Human Rights Day
INFORMATION ON THESE EVENTS
January 3 Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Each year on the third Monday of January across America we celebrate the birth, the life and the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is a time for the nation to remember the injustices that Dr. King fought. A time to remember his fight for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all races and peoples. A time to remember the message of change through non-violence.
February Black History Month
February has been commemorated as a month to celebrate the struggles, achievements and contributions of people of African heritage.
Americans have recognized black history annually, first as "Negro History Week" and later as "Black History Month." In 1926 African American Dr. Carter G. Woodson who earned a PhD from Harvard launched Negro History Week as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history. He was disturbed to find in his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population—and when blacks did figure into the picture, it was generally in ways that reflected the inferior social position they were assigned at the time.
Carter Woodson chose February because it marked the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Federick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
In December 1995, the Parliament of Canada officially recognized February as Black History Month, following a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine, M.P. of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, who at the time was Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister. The motion was carried unanimously by the House of Commons.
February 21 Heritage Day
Heritage Day was established in 1973 by the Heritage Canada Foundation, and is celebrated the 3rd Monday of February to encourage the preservation and promotion of Canada's nationally significant historic, architectural, natural and scenic heritage.
The Department of Canadian Heritage, along with national museums and the National Library and Archives of Canada, works with diverse parties across Canada to ensure that our heritage is not only preserved, but also promoted and enhanced. All Canadians are invited to celebrate Heritage Day by learning about Canada's immense historical, cultural and natural heritage and discover all of its beauty, diversity and vitality.
March 8 International Women’s Day
Every year on March 8, millions of women and men around the world celebrate International Women's Day. This day is an ideal opportunity to reflect on the progress made to advance women's equality, to assess the challenges facing women in contemporary society, to consider future steps to enhance the status of women and, of course, to celebrate the gains made in these areas.
Women on all continents, often divided by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political, differences come together to celebrate International Women's Day. It is a celebration of ordinary women as makers of history. Rallies, marches, fairs, receptions, shows, films and debates are held around the world to celebrate the achievements in gender equality.
When did it start?
Toward the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, a movement of women struggling for better working conditions and recognition of their fundamental rights, including the right to vote, emerged in North America and Europe.
A number of people believe that International Women's Day emanates from labour strikes of female textile workers on March 8, in both 1857 and 1908, to protest against poor working conditions in New York City. Others say the first official reference to International Women's Day can be traced to a demonstration for women's suffrage organized by the National Association of Socialist Women. Referred to as “Women's Day,” the demonstration took place on February 28, 1909 and was celebrated annually in the United States on the last Sunday in February until 1913.
March 21 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Since 1966, the 21st of March has been recognized by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Proclaimed by the United Nations in 1966 to call on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. On March 21, 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws".
Canada was one of the first countries to support the UN declaration and, in 1989, the Department of Canadian Heritage launched its annual March 21 Campaign.
March 21-28 Week of Solidarity with Peoples Struggling Against Racism and Racial Discrimination
Proclaimed in 1979 by the United Nations, as part of its program for the First Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination.
May 5 Holocaust Memorial Day/Yom ha-Shoah
Holocaust Memorial Day is about commemorating all of the communities who suffered as a result of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution. The central focus for Holocaust Memorial Day remains the Holocaust, but it is also an opportunity to reflect on more recent atrocities that raise similar issues.
May 5 South Asian Arrival Day
In December 2001, the Ontario government proclaimed the South Asian Heritage Act, 2001, the first of its kind in Canada. That Act proclaims the month of May as South Asian Heritage Month and also marks May 5th as South Asian Arrival Day, commemorating the first arrivals from the Indian subcontinent to the Americas, beginning May 5, 1838.
While most South Asians came to Canada from India, many others immigrated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. South Asians also came to Ontario from other countries with large South Asian populations including Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Mauritius, Singapore, Malaysia, Fiji, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.
May 17 National Day Against Homophobia
National Day Against Homophobia was first held in Quebec on June 4, 2003. The reason for this annual event is to raise people’s awareness of homophobia and the harmful effects, to provide a positive image of homosexuality and sexual diversity, and to combat exclusion. May 17th was selected because it was on this day that the World Health Organization (WHO) removed the word homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. National Day Against Homophobia is also commemorated in Belgium and France.
If you would like more please visit: www.homophobia.org
June 5 World Environment Day
Proclaimed by the United Nations to deepen public awareness of the need to preserve and enhance the environment. That date was chosen because it was the opening day of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972), which led to the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
June 11- 18 National Pride Week
Hamilton Pride Festival, Inc. is a not-for-profit Corporation whose function is to plan, organize and produce the Hamilton Pride Festival in the City of Hamilton celebrating the diversity, history, and achievements of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities during the month of June of each year.
June 20 World Refugee Day
On 20 June, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees salutes the indomitable spirit and courage of the world's refugees, giving them the encouragement, support and respect they deserve.
Every refugee story is different; every loss is a personal one. But around the world different crises affect different groups. Some conflicts are almost resolved. Others are new, with fresh refugee problems. And still others are shadowy, long-running guerrilla wars whose victims are often the ordinary people the revolutionaries claim to represent. more
June 21 National Aboriginal Day
This date was chosen because it corresponds to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and because for generations, many Aboriginal groups have celebrated their culture and heritage. In 1996, the former Governor General of Canada proclaimed June 21 of every year to be known as National Aboriginal Day. The day recognizes the diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
National Aboriginal Day is a wonderful opportunity to become better acquainted with the cultural diversity of Inuit, Métis and First Nations peoples, discover the unique accomplishments of Aboriginal peoples in fields as varied as agriculture, the environment and the arts, and celebrate their significant contribution to Canadian society.
June 27 Canadian Multiculturalism Day
Canadian Multiculturalism Day is an opportunity to celebrate our diversity and our commitment to democracy, equality and mutual respect and to appreciate the contributions of the various multicultural groups and communities to Canadian society.
July 1 Canada Day
Canada Day celebrates the formation of the Canadian federal government on July 1, 1867, the birth of Canada as a nation. This Canadian holiday was called Dominion Day until October 27, 1982. It is celebrated annually by all provincial governments and most businesses across the country.
In 2007, Canada will be 140.
August 1 Proclamation of Emancipation Day in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe, Toronto was founded with a commitment to the abolition of slavery through the passage of the Abolition Act on July 9, 1793 which was passed in Upper Canada, now known as Ontario.
This law freed slaves aged 25 and over and made it illegal to bring slaves into Upper Canada. Consequently, Upper Canada became a safe haven for runaway slaves. The Abolition Act also made Canada the first jurisdiction in the British Empire to move toward the abolition of slavery.
Slavery was abolished by the British Parliament across the British Empire as of August 1, 1834, by the enactment of legislation on August 28, 1833, through the efforts of abolitionists including Lieutenant Governor Simcoe of Upper Canada.
The Government of Ontario in 1998 and the Government of Canada in 1999 enacted bills to proclaim August 1 as Emancipation Day, to recognize the struggle for human rights and the heritage and contributions being made to Canada by Black communities, including those who arrived by the Underground Railroad.
Mayor of Toronto, David Miller, proclaimed August 1, 2004 as "Emancipation Day" in the City of Toronto.
August 9 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
In 1994, the General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World's Indigenous People shall be observed on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1992, of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
August 12 International Youth Day
The International Youth Day is celebrated every August 12th as declared by the United Nations General Assembly. This day serves to promote youth participation and to address youth issues. Empowered young people are key agents for social change, economic development and technological innovation.
September 8 International Literacy Day
Declared by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to eradicate illiteracy. Literacy programs promote and expand literacy skills for children and adults.
October 17 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
Proclaimed by the United Nations to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries.
In Canada, a campaign called “Campaign 2000 Anniversary” was conducted by the Canadian House of Commons which unanimously passed a resolution seeking "to achieve the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000." The goal was not met. Campaign 2000 is committed to promoting and securing the full implementation of the resolution. The campaign continues every year in November 23-24 as much more work needs to be done by government to eliminate child and family poverty.
November 20 Universal Children’s Day
Universal Children's Day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly. First observed in 1953, it is a time to honour children by special ceremonies and festivals and to make children's needs known to governments.
November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
In December 1993, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. In December 1999, the General Assembly of the UN designated November 25TH as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem on that day. Women's activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).
December 2 International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of others on December 2nd 1949
December 3 International Day of Disabled Persons
The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons, 3 December, aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. The theme of the Day is based on the goal of full and equal enjoyment of human rights and participation in society by persons with disabilities, established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the General Assembly in 1982.
December 6 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day commemorates the anniversary of the Montreal massacre when a gunman shot and killed fourteen young women December 6, 1989 at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal because of their gender.
Beyond commemorating the loss of these fourteen young lives, this day represents a time to pause and reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also a time to have a special thought for all the women and girls who live daily with the threat of violence or who have died as a result of deliberate acts of gender-based violence. Last but not least, it is a day for communities to reflect on concrete actions that each Canadian can take to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls
The White Ribbon Campaign is a public awareness campaign organized by men. By wearing a white ribbon, men are making a statement of their opposition to violence against women. It is a personal pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women.
December 10 Human Rights Day
In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly proposed that its members declare December 10 to be Human Rights Day. This day marks the anniversary of the unanimous adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly in 1948.
The Declaration sets out fundamental rights and freedoms: the right to equality, life, liberty and security of person. It prohibits all forms of discrimination based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property, birth, opinion or other status.
In 1993, the Vienna Conference reaffirmed the central role of the Universal Declaration in protecting human rights and, for the first time, recognized the inalienable right to development.
Every year, International Human Rights Day reminds us of persisting human rights problems in our communities and in the world, and of the enormous efforts still required to make human rights a reality for all. These rights include rights to health, to education, to food, to housing, to marry and found a family, to participate in public life, to be free from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention -- in short, the rights needed to be free from want and fear.