Awareness of another’s needs is an important aspect of human nature. It fosters the empathy and understanding necessary to build a well functioning society. We have to educate and advocate for a variety of circumstances ranging from institutionalized-isms to individualized experiences in order to manifest concrete change. In giving a space to something that may be overlooked on a daily basis, we have an opportunity to strengthen its momentum.
October not only marks a time for the LGBTQ community to share its history, but it also hosts a few other deserving causes that impact us across sexual and gender lines. So behold, five meritorious causes to be aware of this October:
1. Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic violence affects people from every community in both subtle and unsubtle ways. It displays itself in differing manners ranging from verbal threats to physical abuse. The effects of it can be damaging; and sometimes victims may come to the defense of their abuser. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of domestic violence in their life. If you or someone you know needs help, you can find the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1−800−799−7233.
2. National Bullying Prevention Month
Bullying became a priority in the United States in the late 2000’s when a large number of LGBTQ school aged children began committing suicide due to their experiences with their peers. It is becoming even more prevalent with the advent of the digital age and extends beyond daily interaction to constant harassment through the use of social media sites. The government has established www.stopbullying.gov to provide schools and families with resources to identify bullying, to stop it, and to provide ways to get help.
3. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
When you first go to the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s website you’ll notice their goal of eliminating breast cancer by 2020. Since 1975, the chance that a woman will develop breast cancer in her life has increased over three percent. While the mortality rate of women under 50 who develop breast cancer has declined, it is still the most commonly developed cancer among women and the second leading cause of death.
4. Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15)
This distinctive month begins on September 15 as a cause to celebrate the Independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The observation began in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson for a weeklong period and was extended to 30 days under President Ronald Reagan. Knowing the struggles of marginalized people and the lack of their representation in our history, we take this time to celebrate the contributions and cultures of American citizens that came from Spain, Central America, and South America. For more information, exhibits and collections, go to http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov.
5. LGBTQ History Month
The first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights happened on October 14, 1979. It wasn’t for another nine years that the LGBTQ community had another march on October 11, 1987. The second march serves as the anniversary for National Coming Out Day. In 1994, Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, thought that October would be the perfect month to dedicate to LGBTQ history. It has since been endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association, and other national organizations.