May 2024 Culture Calendar

Month-long observances:

ALS Awareness Month

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. There is no cure for ALS, and because people with it are extremely vulnerable to infections like covid care and treatment in recent years have been even more challenging. That will be the focus of this year’s observance. 

Observance Suggestion: It’s important to catch the early signs of ALS for early intervention and treatment. Check with your organization’s health plans and make sure any screenings are covered. Bring in a health expert to talk to your employees about early symptoms so they can be tested early on. Learn more about ALS Awareness Month.

Better Hearing & Speech Month

This month shines a light on speech and hearing disorders in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of making effective communication accessible for everyone. This year’s theme is “Building a Strong Foundation” focusing on the science, identification, and treatment of the mechanics of communication.

Observance Suggestion: If your workplace has noise levels that require hearing protection, use this month to spotlight its importance for all employees, and consider hiring an audiologist to do a noise audit. Share resources through your company newsletter about better understanding communication disorders. 

Haitian Heritage Month

In celebration of the traditions that have grown since Haiti’s independence in 1804, the entire month of May is Haitian Heritage Month. It is a time to honor the vibrant culture, art, and cuisine of the Haitian people. This month, we encourage you to take a look at how Taino, African practices, and European elements combine to create such a unique culture.

Observance Suggestion: Invite employees with Haitian heritage to share their family and cultural traditions in an informal event. 

Jewish-American Heritage Month

Recognizing over 350 years of Jewish-American history, this month focuses on celebrating the many Jewish contributions to American culture. Each year, those who celebrate aim to offer appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities to educate the public with correct and honest information.

Observance Suggestion: Bring in a speaker affiliated with Jewish-American culture. Hear the stories of the past and learn how Jewish traditions have weaved into the American fabric. Determine how you can honor these things within your organization through an audit of your organization’s culture. Learn more about Jewish-American history.

Mental Health Month

Millions of people live with the reality of mental illness, and rarely does it ever look the same in two people. After facing universal stress, a pandemic, and abrupt adjustment to work, mental health has never been more important. 2023’s theme will focus on how physical environments impact mental health. 

Observance Suggestion: Place is one of the primary aspects of an organization’s culture, whether it’s a physical HQ or an online environment made up of video meetings and group chats. Contact us to help you survey your employees about the impact of their work environments on mental health to develop a plan to make improvements. Learn more about Mental Health Month.

National Asian American and South Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This month highlights the importance of organizations taking intentional steps to ensure paths to leadership for members of the AANHPI communities. 

Observance Suggestion: Assess your organization’s AANHPI representation. Research how AANHPI people have influenced your company and industry and share with employees. Have a book club featuring a current AANHPI author. 

Older Americans Month

Older Americans Month focuses on diverse aging experiences and the shared benefits of keeping older individuals engaged in communities.

Observance Suggestion: Set up a mentor program for young employees to learn from older employees. Invite people to share stories about the older people who’ve provided support, guidance, and inspiration in their lives. Learn more about OAM

Calendar dates:

May 5 – Cinco de Mayo (same every year)

While some incorrectly represent Cinco de Mayo as Mexican Independence Day, it actually celebrates the victory over France in the Battle of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo celebrations, however, have a fraught history, especially when Americanized celebrations perpetuate harmful stereotypes about Mexican people. 

Observance Suggestion: Use this day as an opportunity to highlight the contributions of people with Mexican heritage to your company and industry. Highlight the dangers of harmful stereotypes perpetuated by the Americanization of the holiday. And honor Mexican culture by hosting a celebration supplied by Mexican-owned businesses.

May 5-6 – Yom Hashoah (Jewish) – Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day)

Yom Hashoah is a Jewish memorial day, honoring the tales of sufferings and victories. Jews all over the world reflect on what their ancestors were forced to face, including Holocaust victims and survivors. 

Observance Suggestion: To stand with your Jewish workers and friends in solidarity, consider hiring experts who can educate you on how to best support your Jewish team members and remember their history.

May 17 – International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (same every year)

The theme for 2023’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia is “Together Always: United in Diversity” highlighting the renewed need for and power of allyship for the LGBTQIAA+ community. The date was chosen to commemorate the decision by the World Health Organisation in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Observance Suggestion: Dive into the community and listen to the concerns of LGBTQIAA+ people within your organization. Donate to causes that address those concerns, and apply cultural strategies within your culture to ensure LGBTQIAA+ people can show up as themselves.

May 21 – World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (same every year)

Three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts start with cultural division. This day was created by UNESCO to highlight the power of celebrating diversity for developing advancements across every aspect of life in the pursuit of peace. 

Observance Suggestion: Identify the diversity across your organization and in the broadest sense of the word and ask employees to reflect on a time they benefited from working with a colleague with a different background, belief system, or way of thinking. 

May 23 – Declaration of the Bab (Baha’i) (same every year)

Every year, those within the Baha’i faith celebrate the event from 1844. Mulla Husayn, a Shi’a Muslim, went on a quest for the Promised One. When Husayn met with Siyyid Ali-Muhammad, it became clear that Muhammad was this Promised One (Bab), and thus began the Baha’i faith.

Observance Suggestion: Devotees of the religion take time to reflect on their spiritual enlightenment. Give anyone in your organization time away from work without repercussions so they can reflect how they see fit.

May 29 – Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i) (same every year)

The Baha’i faith focuses on humanity’s spiritual unity. Bahá’u’lláh was the prophet to teach this idea to all those who follow the religion. On this day in 1882, Bahá’u’lláh passed away, leaving behind all of his teachings.

Observance Suggestion: One of the Bahá’is beliefs (perhaps the most important) is that we should always strive to be better people. Honor this belief today. Ask how you can better yourself and your organization. How can you better the culture inside of your organization so that the people who make up the culture can show up better, too?

May 27 – Memorial Day

Memorial Day is dedicated to the men and women who died fighting for American rights throughout history through the present day, making it inevitable that someone within your organization is honoring a loved one as part of their personal observance. 

Observance Suggestion: Send a message to employees in gratitude for the individuals who gave their lives in the pursuit of peace, and in support of anyone who may be honoring a loved one. If you operate a business that does not close on Memorial Day, offer a payment incentive for employees that are scheduled to work through the holiday. 

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