OCTOBER 2014: The warmth of Indian summer begins to wane in October, bringing the smell of autumn and the vibrancy of fall colors. This month, wear pink with pride in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and be sure to thank leaders in your congregation: It’s National Clergy Appreciation Month. Stop bullying in its tracks, because October is National Bullying Prevention Month. October is also LGBT History Month. Visit an art museum or attend a live performance in honor of October being National Arts & Humanities Month, and learn more about Polish and Filipino Americans, because both are honored this month. As the nights get chillier, rent a movie and spend a night at home with a buttery, poppin’ favorite: it’s Popcorn Month (and, for those of you with a sweet tooth, it’s Cookie Month, too).
Check out this month’s highlights:
NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION MONTH
Founded in 2006 by the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER), National Bullying Prevention Month calls communities nationwide to unite for a cause: raising awareness and providing education about bullying prevention. The first week in October marks the height of anti-bullying actions across the country, from events in schools, organizations and community groups to awareness campaigns by media outlets and corporations. PACER originally developed a bullying prevention campaign in response to society’s neutral response to bullying as “something that just happens;” bullying is more than that, PACER leaders argued, and the effects of childhood bullying can last a lifetime. ReadTheSpirit Books recently released a unique collection of 36 comics, Bullying Is No Laughing Matter. And, our publishing house is contributing to PACER’s important efforts by donating $1 for every copy of this new book through October to their anti-bullying effort.
NATIONAL CLERGY APPRECIATION MONTH
With more than one million full-time Christian ministry workers and 350,000 senior pastors currently in the United States, it’s time to thank the folks that inspire your congregation: October is Clergy Appreciation Month. Inaugurated by nonprofit group Under His Wing in 1992, Clergy Appreciation Month encourages congregation members to express gratitude to their pastors and clergy leaders and to find ways to help, whether by offering volunteer yard work or bringing lunch. A rising demand brought Hallmark to begin printing National Clergy Day cards in 2001, and the cause currently has a Facebook page, too.
NATIONAL BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
From the White House in Washington, D.C. to skyscrapers in Tokyo, world buildings are illuminated in pink this month, in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Founded in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of a chemical industry organization, NBCAM promotes mammography, breast cancer prevention and awareness of the signs of breast cancer. Today, the pink ribbon—gaining popularity since the Susan G. Komen Foundation began handing out pink ribbons at its race in 1991—had gained international status, and “pink” merchandise can be found in countless stores. October brings fundraising walks, runs and more; since 1983, participant count in Race for the Cure has skyrocketed from 800 to well over 1 million. NationalBreastCancer.org encourages an Early Detection Plan; offers educational and supportive resources for women with breast cancer; and raises funds for women who can’t afford a mammogram.
NATIONAL ARTS & HUMANITIES MONTH
This month, Americans are urged to explore new facets of the arts and humanities—so get out there and try a new museum, live show or gallery viewing! The year was 1993 when National Arts & Humanities Month was established, with four goals in mind: to create a national, state and local focus on the arts and humanities through media; to encourage the participation of individuals, arts and humanities and other organizations worldwide; to provide an opportunity for federal, state and local businesses, government and civic leaders to declare their support for the arts and humanities; and to establish a highly visible vehicle for raising awareness about the arts and humanities. Looking for ideas to celebrate? Host or attend a National Arts & Humanities Event in your community, with more information here. Hosting resources are available here, and access the National ArtsMeet Calendar here. Raise awareness by sending a proclamation to your local elected officials (a sample proclamation link is on this page), or participate in the National Arts & Humanities Show Your Art Instagram campaign.