Friday, January 14, 2022

Happy New Year 2022! As we launch the Spring 2022 semester, we want to draw your attention to some observances and events in the month of January. Given the winter break, this newsletter’s timing is atypical, and some of the observances listed below occurred earlier this month.

Going forward, we want to highlight in particular our first week of the semester, since this is our Unity Week 2022, the University of Iowa’s annual celebration of the richness of our university’s growth in diversity, education, and inclusion. Please see more details below.

Tippie and University Events:

Unity Week – January 17th – 21st
Unity Week represents the University of Iowa’s annual celebration of growth in diversity, education, and inclusion.  The week starts with the celebration of Martin Luther King Day by observing a day of service and reflection. Each following day of Unity Week showcases celebrations of our people, our achievements, our programs and resources and our journey to unity at Iowa. Stories of Unity from each college – including Tippie – are going to be aggregated on the Unity Week website. Some of our College’s stories will include the Tippie Monday Memoirs Series, the Tippie Dore Emerging Women Leaders Program and the Tippie BizEdge Mentorship program.

DEI Award Announcement

The Alliant Energy Foundation, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa are announcing the Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Achievement Award for underrepresented students currently enrolled in these three universities. The Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Achievement Award was created by Alliant Energy to honor Erroll B. Davis, Jr. and his nearly 30 years of service to the utility industry as well as to honor and recognize the importance of scholarship and leadership by underrepresented minority students in the state of Iowa.

This award recognizes academic achievement, leadership in campus and community organizations, and potential for future career success of rising Seniors in business or engineering. Each student who is selected to receive the award can receive up to $5,000.

Complete applications are due February 20th, 2022. Please encourage your students to plan their application submission according to this due date. Application details and submission form can be found here.

January is National Mentoring Month, which celebrates mentoring and the positive effect it can have on young lives. Its goals are to:

  • Raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms.
  • Recruit individuals to mentor, especially in programs that have waiting lists.
  • Promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations to engage their constituents in mentoring.

There are several mentoring-related events and celebrations throughout the month of January.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Every year since 2010, the President has dedicated this month to raising awareness about human trafficking and educating the public about how to identify and prevent this crime. The U.S. Department of State raises awareness of human trafficking domestically and abroad through U.S. embassies and consulates. During this month, we celebrate the efforts of foreign governments, international organizations, anti-trafficking entities, law enforcement officials, survivor advocates, communities of faith, businesses, and private citizens all around the world to raise awareness about human trafficking.

The Department of Homeland Security is spearheading the Blue Campaign, which is a national public awareness campaign designed to educate the public, law enforcement and other industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how to appropriately respond to possible cases. Blue Campaign works closely with DHS Components to develop general awareness trainings, as well as specific educational resources to help reduce victimization within vulnerable populations.

January is National Braille Literacy Month, which also honors Louie Braille (born on January 4, 1809), the creator of the Braille reading and writing system for the legally blind and visually impaired people.

The observance raises awareness of the importance of Braille to the blind and visually impaired community. As audio technology progresses, the use of Braille dwindles. However, its significance remains, especially in the workplace and the classroom. This month offers the opportunity to learn about the importance and history of Braille.

January is National Poverty in America Awareness Month, a month-long initiative to raise awareness and call attention to the growth of poverty in America.

Poverty is a complex socio-economic issue. Manifestations of poverty can appear in the forms of hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education, to medical care and to other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion, disabilities, restricted access to participation in the democratic process, and so on. More than 40 million Americans live in poverty, including one in four working-age people with disabilities, but actions can be taken towards eradicating it. As Nelson Mandela said, “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the action of human beings.

January is Walk Your Dog Month, giving everyone the perfect opportunity to get moving after the holiday season and get more exercise and fresh air. This awareness month has great health and wellbeing benefits for pet owners and their dogs.

Emancipation Proclamation (January 1st)

On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” It is important to remember that not all slaves were freed in the U.S. on this day. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865 (now celebrated as Juneteenth) that slavery was ended across the Confederacy as troops rode into Galveston, Texas.

New Year’s Day/ Global Family Day/World Peace Day (January 1st)

Global Family Day, also known as World Peace Day, is celebrated every year to promote the concept of harmony and unity in the world. Furthermore, the day emphasizes the idea of the world as a global village in which we are all family, regardless of citizenship, borders, or race.

It all started on January 1st, 2000, when the United Nations General Assembly launched the International Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, as of the first day of the new millennium. The idea to celebrate the day stemmed from a children’s book ‘One Day In Peace’ authored by Steve Diamond and Robert Alan Silverstein in 1996. The book tells the tale of a global awakening and emphasizes the chance to start a new chapter in the story of humanity.  In 1999, all U.N. member states received an invitation to formally dedicate the first day of that particular year to develop strategies towards peacebuilding. Seeing the positive impact of the day, Global Family Day was declared an annual event by the U.N. in 2001.

Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th)

This Christian feast day celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ to the peoples of the world, represented by the Magi, in popular lore depicted as three kings . It is considered a feast of light, typified by the shining star that led the Magi to the infant Christ, the light of the world. Epiphany is celebrated following the twelve days of Christmas and traditionally concludes the Christmas season. Customs associated with Epiphany include chalking the door of a house and other house blessings, winter swimming, star singing, and in some countries the exchange of gifts (instead of at Christmas) and parades featuring decorated floats and dressing up as the Magi.

In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, January 6th is the day of the Baptism and Great Blessings of the Waters, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan.

Orthodox Christmas – Julian Calendar (January 7th)

Orthodox Christians in central and eastern Europe and other parts of the world celebrate Christmas on January 7th, according to the Julian calendar. The holiday is celebrated with many of the same symbols as those used for December 25, such as Christmas trees, wreaths and gifts. But this holiday, celebrated over three days, is also a special time of prayer and reflection.

Makar Sankranti (January 14th)

Makar Sankranti is the first major Hindu festival of the year that is dedicated to the Hindu religious Sun God Surya. It is often celebrated with morning prayer followed by kite games and competitions. Sankranti literally means “movement.” The significance of the Makar Sankranti festival is that it marks the day where there is a significant movement in the zodiac – the sun’s transit into Makara (Capricorn) raashi (zodiac sign)  – and this movement brings about a new change in the way we experience the planet itself. The festivities related to Makar Sankranti have many names depending on the region it is being celebrated in.

Orthodox “Old” New Year  – Julian Calendar (January 14th)

The “Old New Year” celebrates the start of the Julian calendar, which falls on January 14th in the Gregorian calendar, which is the one now widely used. This traditional dating of the New Year is sometimes commonly called “Orthodox” because it refers back to a time when governments in Russia and Eastern Europe used the Julian calendar, which is still used by some jurisdictions of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

World Religion Day and National Religious Freedom Day (January 16th)

The aim of World Religion Day, held on the third Sunday in January every year, is to promote inter-faith understanding and harmony. Through a variety of events held around the globe, followers of every religion are encouraged to acknowledge the similarities that different faiths have.

On January 16, 1786 the Virginia State Assembly adopted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1777. This statute became the precursor of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As a result, the Church of England in Virginia was dis-established and people of different faiths were granted freedom of religion. National Religious Freedom Day was first proclaimed in 1996 and has been proclaimed every year since then by a statement by the President of the USA, to protect and promote religious expression rights.

This day is observed through various activities and events in schools and places of worship. Schools are encouraged to recognize this day during the entire school week preceding January 16. Freedom of religion is considered to be a fundamental human right. Everyone has the right to manifest belief or religion, change religion or not to follow any religion. The right to change religion or belief is stated in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 17th)

Each year on the third Monday of January we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and reflect on the work that still needs to be done for racial equality. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist, revered as one of the great leaders of the American Civil Rights movement. He advocated the use of nonviolent means to end racial segregation. He first came to national prominence during a bus boycott by African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. He founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and led the 1963 March on Washington. The most influential of African American civil rights leaders during the 1960s, he was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations, facilities, and employment, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964.

National Hugging Day (January 21st)

National Hugging Day was created by Kevin Zaborney and was celebrated in 1986 in Clio, Michigan for the first time, after being published in “Chase’s Calendar of Annual Events.” Since that time, National Hugging Day has continued to grow internationally. To celebrate this day, people offer physical or mental hugs to family and friends. After more than two years of social distancing, this day seems even more impactful in terms of the many benefits that hugs bring to everyone’s physical, mental and emotional health.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day  (January 27th)

The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and honors the victims of Nazism.

On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.