We’re commemorating two cultural observances and promoting total health and well-being in May, the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) team announced.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 

Also known as AAPI Heritage Month, this annual celebration pays tribute to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders whose diverse journeys, life experiences, traditions and cultures have enriched America’s history and are pivotal to its future. The AAPI community includes citizens and immigrants from all of Asia and islands within the regions of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Comprising nearly 7% of the population, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing group in the United States. 

Jewish American Heritage Month 

May is also Jewish American Heritage Month, during which we commemorate the achievements and contributions of the American Jewish community to the United States. In May 2004, the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the American Jewish Historical Society, the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration organized the 350th Anniversary of American Jewish History, which led to May being selected as Jewish American Heritage Month In 2006.  

As we take part in the celebratory nature of AAPI and Jewish American Heritage Months, we equally recognize the ongoing acts of bias, discrimination and injustice faced by these and other communities domestically and internationally. We invite you to continue to learn more about how you can engage in the work of positive change and champion inclusion. Our microlearning journeys from Blue Ocean Brain housed in the learn.WashU platform are one place to start. 

Mental Health Awareness Month 

Mental Health Month was established in 1949 by Mental Health America to increase awareness of mental health and wellness and reduce the stigma of mental health care. This year, Mental Health America has themed its Mental Health Awareness Month toolkit “Back to Basics,” and it focuses on primary information related to mental health, mental health conditions and mental health care.  

Our new micro-learning journeys for May, available on the learn.WashU platform, include:

Accepting Yourself and Others: Mental Health at Work

Mental Wellness and Well-Being at Work 
Here are other ways to get involved and learn more, and don’t forget to check out the WashU Diversity Calendar for additional related events: 

In February, Olin’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) team launched a new initiative to celebrate our diverse community through monthly cultural observances. During April, we recognize and commemorate several cultural observances, including those centered on religious diversity and neurodiversity. April is also Celebrate Diversity Month.  

Ramadan (April 2–May 1) 

Ramadan, known as the holy month of fasting, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is during this month that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad. Observed through fasting, community prayer and self-reflection, Ramadan begins with the appearance of the crescent moon on April 2 and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon on May 1. Ramadan concludes with the Eid al-Fitr holiday, “the festival of breaking fast.” 

Passover (April 15–23) 

Passover is a Jewish holiday celebrated this year from April 15 to 23. In Hebrew, it is known as Pesach, which means to “pass over.” It commemorates the Israelites’ exodus from slavery in ancient Egypt. It is observed by avoiding leavened food and highlighted by the Seder meals that include family and friends, the seder plate, four cups of wine, matza and retelling the story of the exodus. 

Easter (April 17) 

Easter is a Christian holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which occurred three days after he was crucified by the Romans. This year, Easter will be celebrated on Sunday, April 17. Before Easter, some Christian denominations observe a 40-day period called Lent that begins with Ash Wednesday and concludes with Good Friday. Lent is observed through acts of fasting, prayer and sacrifice.   

Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month 

April is Autism Awareness Month. First held by the Autism Society as National Autistic Children’s Week, this month intends to promote acceptance, inclusion and empowerment of members of the autism community.  

Initiated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008, World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated annually on April 2 and spotlights the need for increased education and awareness of autism globally. 

Celebrate Diversity Month 

Celebrate Diversity Month was launched in April 2004 to recognize and honor the many ways that our global society is made richer because of our diverse and unique identities, backgrounds and worldviews. Through celebration of our commonalities and differences, we hope to build and deepen relationships and our understanding of one another.  

Learn more through our micro-learning journeys from Blue Ocean Brain housed in the learn.WashU platform. Each micro-learning journey takes 10 minutes or less, and the new journeys available this month include:

  • Celebrate Diversity: How it Fosters Belonging 
  • Recognizing Cultural Intelligence 

Check out the WashU Diversity Calendar and the WashU Office for Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life for other related events.