JANUARY - Tobacco Free Awareness Week
In January we raise awareness on tobacco free environments and celebrating the anniversary of North Carolina's historic smoke-free restaurants and bars law. The statewide smoke-free law will protect hospitality workers who earn a living working in restaurants and bars, and the general public attending these venues, from the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and the other serious illnesses caused by secondhand smoke. The law requires restaurants and bars to post no-smoking signs, remove ashtrays, and ask smokers to step outside to smoke.
FEBRUARY - Black History and Through With Chew Week
In 1926, Carter Woodson began the movement for recognition of the history of African Americans with a focus on the second week in February in celebration of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln; he called it "Negro History Week." During the early 1970s, Negro History Week was renamed Black History Week, and in 1976 it became Black History Month when the United States designated all of February for the recognition of African American history. This annual event celebrates the achievements of black Americans and provides recognition of the central role of African Americans in U.S. Other nations around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
Through With Chew began in 1989 to raise awareness in communities about the dangers of smokeless tobacco. This week in February creates the opportunity for people to learn how they can make their communities safer through policy change and public education. Events and activities throughout the week help educate community members about smokeless tobacco use and provide resources to affected populations that can help them succeed at quitting. The next Through with Chew Week will be held February 20-26,2011.
MARCH - Women's Health and Kick Butts Week
Women's History Month has been celebrated annually since 1987 during the month of March and marks the time to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the history of the United States. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women first initiated a "Women's History Week" celebration in 1978 and chose the week of March 8 to coincide with International Women's Day. The next year, leaders from the California group shared their project at a Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. Participants agreed to support an effort to have Congress declare a national Women's History Week, which was first celebrated in 1981.
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak up and take action against Tobacco at events from coast to coast.
APRIL - Earth Day
Earth Day is a day intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the earth and efforts to protect the natural environment. Earth day was a day founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.
MAY - Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and World No Tobacco Day
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating Asian-Pacific Heritage Week in May, which was expanded by President George H. W. Bush into a month-long celebration starting in 1992. Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month is a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States and their contributions to history and society. A rather broad term, Asian-Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
World No Tobacco Day is also observed every year on May 31st in the U.S. and around the world. This yearly celebration informs the public on the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic, and what people around the world can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.
JUNE - Gay and Lesbian Pride
In June we raise awareness for the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. President Barack Obama proclaimed June 2010 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, and invited Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists. The Proclamation reminds us that 'over forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans. LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society."
JULY - Independence from Tobacco Addiction
In July we celebrate the fight to become independent from tobacco! Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 440,000 Americans each year. It is also the leading cause of preventable death in North Carolina, and is primarily responsible for numerous deadly cancers and debilitating illnesses. Despite these facts, each year thousands of our state's young people begin using tobacco.
AUGUST - Tobacco Growing Communities and School Policy Compliance
In August, we celebrate the efforts to keep our schools tobacco free! On August 1, 2008 state legislation made all NC public schools tobacco free. The law prohibits at all times the use of any tobacco product in school buildings, grounds, and at school-sponsored events. This includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, cigars, pipes and all other forms of tobacco. The law applies to any person in school buildings, in school facilities, on school campuses, and in or on any other school property owned or operated by the school. This includes students, faculty, staff, parents, and visitors and extends to any school owned or school run property. Evidence shows that comprehensive community and school-based programs combined with mass-marketing efforts effectively prevent or postpone the onset of youth smoking. HWTF's Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Initiative (TUPC) leads these efforts by promoting compliance with 100% Tobacco-Free Schools.
In August, we also raise awareness to tobacco-dependent and economically affected communities. Tobacco use poses a greater burden on minority, low income, and low literacy populations. Characteristics that describe low socio-economic status populations include low income, individuals with less than 12 years of education, the medically under-served, the unemployed, and the working poor. Although there are many factors contributing to predicted tobacco use, socioeconomic status is the single greatest predictor.
SEPTEMBER - Hispanic Heritage
Hispanic Heritage Month honors the culture, heritage, and contributions of Hispanic Americans in the United States. The event began in 1968 when Congress deemed the week including September 15 and 16 National Hispanic Heritage Week to celebrate the contributions and achievements of the diverse cultures within the Hispanic community. The dates were chosen to commemorate two key historic events: Independence Day, honoring the formal signing of the Act of Independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua (September 15, 1821), and Mexico's Independence Day, which denotes the beginning of the struggle against Spanish control (September 16, 1810). In 1988, the National Hispanic Heritage Week was expanded to a month-long period from September 15 through October 15. The National Hispanic Heritage Month now includes El Dia de la Raza on October 12, which celebrates the influences of the people who came after Christopher Columbus and the multicultural, multiethnic society that evolved as a result; Chile's Independence Day on September 18; and Belize's Independence Day on September 21.
OCTOBER - Disability Awareness
Congress designated each October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The purpose of NDEAM is to increase the public's awareness of the contributions and skills of American workers with disabilities. Various programs carried out throughout the month also highlight the specific employment barriers that still need to be addressed and removed. This effort to educate the American public about issues related to disability and employment actually began in 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month."
NOVEMBER - American Indian Heritage and Great American Smokeout (GASO)
The purpose of National American Indian Heritage Month is to honor and recognize the original peoples of this land. American Indian Heritage Month is a time to learn more about the history, heritage and cultures of our continent's original inhabitants-tribal people. Although the first "American Indian Day" was declared by the State of New York in 1916, and "American Indian Heritage Week" was celebrated for four consecutive years in the 1980s, a month-long recognition of Native Americans was not achieved until 1990.
The Great American Smokeout is an annual day set aside to encourage smokers to go 24 hours without smoking a cigarette. It is sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and held annually on the third Thursday in November. The next event will be Thursday, November 18, 2010. The ACS provides assistance and resources to help smokers use the Smokeout as an opportunity to quit smoking for good.
DECEMBER - Universal Human Rights
In December we raise awareness to the struggle for human rights. The Presidential Proclamation for a Human Rights Day reminds us that "more than 60 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, declaring the "inherent dignity" and "equal and inalienable rights" of all human beings as the "foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." This self-evident truth guides us today. Although every country and culture is unique, certain rights are universal: the freedom of people-including women and ethnic and religious minorities-to live as they choose, speak their minds, organize peacefully and have a say in how they are governed, with confidence in the rule of law. History shows that countries that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, secure, and successful. In the United States, these fundamental rights are the core of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights. They are the values that define us as a people, the ideals that challenge us to perfect our union, and the liberties that generations of Americans have fought to preserve at home and abroad. Indeed, fidelity to our fundamental values is one of America's greatest strengths and the reason we stand in solidarity with those who seek these rights, wherever they live. Human Rights Day, Bill of Rights Day, and Human Rights Week must be our call to action. As Americans, we must keep striving to live up to our founding ideals. As a Nation, the United States will always side with the innocent whose rights are denied, the oppressed who yearn for equality, and all those around the world who strive for freedom. As members of what President Franklin Roosevelt called "the human community," we will never waver in our pursuit of the rights, dignity, and security of every human being."
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