Building An Inclusive Community

Celebrating and learning about our cultures, identities and backgrounds is an integral part of building an inclusive community.  Each month we endeavor to highlight heritage and affinity celebrations in Key publications by providing context to the history of the event and sharing information about regional and virtual activities honoring them. We encourage the exploration and honoring of the diversity of our world throughout the year.  It is our intention to center these diverse voices and prompt rich discussions that lead to transformation, inclusion, and justice.

April 2021

April is Arab American Heritage Month

Across the country, cultural institutions, school districts, municipalities, state legislatures, public servants, and Arab Americans will engage in special events that celebrate our community’s rich heritage and numerous contributions to society.

Happy Ramadan/Ramadan Mubarak to those observing this holy holiday!
Ramadan 2021 is approximately April 12/13 - May 12.

5 Things to know about Ramadan

National Deaf History Month - March 13 and runs through April 15

National Deaf History Month is a celebration of the contributions to American society made by the hard of hearing and the Deaf community. It's a great time to recognize Deaf champions and increase awareness of the Deaf community's rich history.

Deaf History Month straddles two months to highlight three of the key milestones in deaf history:

  • April 8, 1864: President Abraham Lincoln signs the charter of Gallaudet University in Washington. It was the first school for the advanced education of the Deaf and hard of hearing in the world.
  • April 15, 1817: The first permanent public school for the Deaf, the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, opens.
  • March 13, 1988: The Deaf President Now movement succeeds in its fight to name I. King Jordan as the first Deaf president of Gallaudet University. Dr. Jordan became known as a symbol of self-determination and empowerment for Deaf and hard of hearing people around the world.

It's exciting that Haben Girma, author of Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law will be joining us at the Annapolis Book Festival on Saturday, April 24.

Learn more about Deaf History Month here

Autism Awareness Month
Autism International Awareness Day is Friday, April 2.
Learn more:

March 2021

Women's History Month

In March we celebrate Women's history and accomplishments.  Here are 10 ways to celebrate the accomplishments of women:

  1. Learn the history of women's rights
  2. Honor the accomplishments of women
  3. Advocate for gender pay equality
  4. Support women-owned businesses
  5. Follow women activists on social media
  6. Write a thank you note to a woman in your life
  7. Be aware of issues that women continue to face
  8. Mentor a girl
  9. Support women artists, authors, etc.
  10. Donate to causes that support women

Check out these Virtual Events through the Women's History Museum

Listen to Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman"

"Here's to strong women. May we know them.  May we be them. May we raise them." -Unknown

Deaf History Month

March 13 -  April 15

Celebrating the contributions of the hard-of-hearing and the deaf community to American society, Deaf History Month is a great time to recognize deaf champions and increase awareness of the deaf community's rich history. 

The celebration straddles two months to highlight three of the key milestones in deaf history:

  • April 15, 1817: The first permanent public school for the deaf, the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, opens.
  • April 8, 1864: President Abraham Lincoln signs the charter of Gallaudet University in Washington, the first school for the advanced education of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing in the world.
  • March 13, 1988: The Deaf President Now movement succeeds in having I. King Jordan named the first deaf president of Gallaudet University. Dr. Jordan became known as a symbol of self-determination and empowerment for deaf and hard of hearing people around the world.

Learn more about Deaf History Month here

Read Creating a More Inclusive World for the Deaf, Blind and Hard of Hearing

Be inspired by Haben: The Deafblind Woman who Conquered Harvard Law

February 2021

February is Black History Month

Black history is American history and should be acknowledged every month, however February gives us an opportunity to explicitly reflect upon and celebrate the contributions and stories of Black people in America. It also invites us  to take part in racial justice work and share Black stories of joy, resilience, resistance, love, and excellence. 

Attend a Virtual Event 
Such as ones provided through The Association of the Study of African American Life and History

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" 
Often called the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons' hometown of Jacksonville, FL, as part of a celebration of Lincoln's birthday on February 12, 1900, by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

Enjoy this beautiful performance of this inspiring work by Aloe Blacc featuring The String Queens at Monticello and view poem and more about the history of this important national work.

Learn more about Black History of the past and present by researching these names:

Kamala Harris
Shirley Chisholm
Barack Obama
Amanda Gorman
Ida B. Wells
Bayard Rustin
Raphael Warnock
Tarana Burke
Ibram X. Kendi

Michelle Alexander
Marsha P. Johnson
Julian Bond
Lloyd Austin
Stacey Abrams
Wilton D.Gregory
Jason Wright
Audre Lorde
Sonia Sanchez

January 2021

January 18 is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  
Dr. King believed in the power of service. He famously said, "Everyone can be great because everybody can serve." Observing the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday through service is a way to honor his legacy and to begin each year with a commitment to making our community a better place. Meaningful service projects connect to the life and teaching of Dr. King, meet pressing community needs, and include time to reflect on his teachings.  Below are volunteer/service opportunities for the 26th annual celebration of MLK day.

January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  
This day marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.  In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom HaShoah.  This year's theme is "Be the light in the darkness"

December 2020 - Honoring Our Community's Varied Celebrations & Holidays

December is a month full of opportunities for multi-cultural celebrations and learning. People all over the world are celebrating and sharing unique traditions and holidays. Learning more about cultures and celebrations, especially for children, offers the opportunity to increase empathy, cultural awareness and appreciation for humanity. 

  • Winter Solstice
  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
  • Lucia Day (Swedish)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Christmas Day (Christian)
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
  • Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
  • Kwanzaa (African American)
  • Ōmisoka (Japanese)
  • Yule (Pagan)
  • Saturnalia (Pagan)
  • Other Celebrations

November 2020 - Native American Heritage Month

This month we honor and celebrate the diverse cultures, contributions and history of Indigenous Peoples. We also acknowledge all that we can learn from Indigenous communities presently and historically.

The National Museum of the American Indian Native Cinema Showcase November 18-27
Learn more about the Land You Live On
Land Acknowledgement
Justice Initiatives
Native Veteran's Stories
Books by Indigenous Writers
More Books by Indigenous Writers

"Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples."
– Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Nobel Peace Prize 1992

October 2020

Hispanic/Latin Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) 
Please enjoy the following resources in recognition of Hispanic/Latin Heritage Month:

  • Equity
    • Becoming Joey
    • Discussion Questions: How can we welcome José into the learning environment? What is José leaving behind?
  • Inclusion
    • Please enjoy Soy Yo - A Tribute to What's Inside of You.
    • Read more about this song at NPR.

LGBTQ History Month
LGBTQ History Month is a month-long celebration that occurs in October to observe lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history. It also honors the history of gay rights. National Coming Out Day (October 11) is also part of LGBTQ History Month. LGBTQ History Month was first celebrated in the United States in 1994. It was founded  by Missouri high school history teacher Rodney Wilson. 

The Queer America Podcast shares LGBTQ history with pride.

Disability Employment Awareness Month
Alternate text

"Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down" - President George H. W. Bush as he signed the American with Disabilities Act of 1990.  

In 1945, Congress declared the first week of October "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was dropped to include individuals with all types of disabilities. Congress expanded the week to a month in 1988, and changed the commemoration to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  

Did you know that sidewalk curb cuts started as civic disobedience in the 70s? In Berkeley, CA, quadriplegic Michael Pachovis and a few friends poured cement to create a ramp and wheeled themselves into the night in a movement that led to thousands of curb cuts to be created across the country.  Learn more about the Curb Cut Effect.

June is Pride Month!

As we move through June, I will share resources to celebrate Pride Month!

Below is information and a timeline that details important dates that lead up to the official celebration of Gay Pride. Throughout this month I will share voices from the LGBTQ Community and strategies for creating inclusive school and community environments. All will be posted on the Key's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion webpage

The Stonewall Riots
June 28, 1969 - In New York, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff and neighborhood residents rioting onto Christopher Street outside.

June 28, 1970 - On the first anniversary of the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, gay activists in New York organized the Christopher Street Liberation March to cap off the city's first Gay Pride Week. As several hundred people began marching up 6th Avenue toward Central Park, supporters from the crowd joined them. The procession eventually stretched some 15 city blocks, encompassing thousands of people.

June 25, 1978 -The rainbow flag, which has become a universal symbol of hope for LGBTQ people around the world, first flew in San Francisco's United Nations Plaza for Gay Pride Day.It was designed by Gilbert Baker, an openly gay artist and activist.

Here are several resources that may be of interest:
Understanding Gender Webinar on June 1, 2020
Understand Gender as Non-binary
Supporting LGBTQ Students during Social Distancing
Why Gender Pronouns?

"It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences." ― Audre Lorde

MAY 2020: We celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Month, Jewish American Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month

We are excited about the opportunity to honor these important voices in our community. Throughout the month, we'll highlight resources that center these voices.

5/1 - This week, we are sharing the Smithsonian Website which features the diversity of Asia and the Asian experience. Below are a few articles that help us to gain insight into the richness of Asian culture during May and all year. These resources can prompt meaningful discussions at home that may foster learning, empathy and advocacy.

Jenifer Moore
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

I am Asian America
Beyond Bollywood
What is the Model Minority Myth
(In)visible Identity  

5/7 - This week we highlight Jewish American Heritage Month. In 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month, recognizing over three centuries of Jewish contributions to American culture. The month of May was chosen due to the highly successful celebration of the 350th Anniversary of American Jewish History in May 2004.

The following resources provide some insight in Jewish-American life and diverse stories of aspiration, resilience and determination:

Jewish American History
Addressing Antisemitic Hate with Students
Radio and the Yiddish-American Cultural Renaissance
Jewish Women
The National Register of Historic Places 

5/14 - May is Mental Health Awareness Month. While 450 million people world-wide are living with mental illness, everyone faces challenges that can impact mental well-being. Community awareness and de-stigmatization allows for transparent conversations about mental health. Now more than ever, there are environmental impacts that weigh heavily on both students and adults in our community. Here are some statistics:

  • Suicide rates have increased by nearly 30 percent across all age groups in the last two decades. (CDC)
  • As many as one in five children between ages 3 and 17 have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. (CDC)
  • In 75 percent of all lifetime cases, the onset of mental illness happens by age 24. (NAMI)
  • 70 percent of youth in state and local juvenile justice systems have a mental illness. (NAMI)

Inclusive communities teach themselves about mental health because it is imperative to create environments in which everyone thrives by normalizing conversations about mental health.

Here are some links to help in that effort:
Mental Health Month Toolkit
Upcoming Webinars about Mental Health

March is Women's History Month

The first Women's Day took place on February 28, 1909, in New York City. Women's History Week was introduced in 1978, timed around International Women's Day, which the United Nations had begun officially marking in 1975. In 1982, at the request of Congress, President Ronald Reagan made a proclamation announcing Women's History Week, which he continued for several years. The Women's National History Project lobbied for a longer observation and Congress passed a proclamation in 1987 establishing Women's History Month.

At Key, we celebrate the women of our past, present and future. Below are links to several resources you may find of interest as we celebrate Women's History Month!

Jenifer Moore
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Maryland's Events Calendar
Maryland Celebrates the Year of the Woman
Women's History Month 

February is Black History Month

Black History Month was started by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Here at Key, students learn about the contributions of African Americans through class discussions, projects, read-ins, literature, and music. Below is a short list of resources, celebrations and events that may be of interest to Key families.

Jenifer Moore
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Local Events

Events in DC

Local Library Family Events

Diverse Books Resource

Google Celebrates Black History Month: The Most Searched