Education Resources for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
National Hispanic Heritage Month | mid-September to mid-October
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Here are some ways you can commemorate the month with your family:
- Support a Hispanic- or Latino-owned business.
Feeling crafty? Check out these fun project ideas.
Play a game of lotería (Mexican bingo) or dominoes (a popular pastime for many of Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican heritage).
Listen to or make a playlist of Latino artists.
Explore books by Hispanic and Latino authors.
Read about how Hispanic and Latino Americans have https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/hispanic-heritage-month.htm for hundreds of years.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day | 2nd Monday in October
The second Monday in October is celebrated throughout the United States as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This day is meant to honor our first people, the Native Americans. With 574 tribes recognized by the U.S. government and another 300-plus sovereign tribal nations, there are many ways to observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day, including an acknowledgment for the land we live on. Did you know that the original inhabitants of the land on which Arroyo sits were the Ramaytush Ohlone people? Ancestors of the Ohlone lived in villages along freshwater creeks on the Peninsula for more than 10,000 years. The Lamchin tribe of the Ramaytush Ohlone lived in the area that is now called San Carlos.
We acknowledge that Arroyo sits on the ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone who are the original peoples of the San Francisco Peninsula. We honor the Ohlone and other Indigenous caretakers of these lands and waters, the elders who lived here before, the Indigenous today, and the generations to come.
You may choose to share this with your family or write your own. Some resources about the Ramaytush Ohlone, the original people of the San Francisco Peninsula, can be found here. We look forward to learning and honoring Native American history more next month for Native American Heritage Month.
Native Authors–Native Lives
Be sure to scroll down to Community News in this newsletter to read about the start of San Mateo County Reads 2022. This year’s theme is Native Authors–Native Lives, and the selected title for Arroyo students is Joseph Bruchac’s Rez Dogs, a novel in verse about a Wabanaki girl’s COVID-19 quarantine on her grandparents’ reservation and the local dog that becomes her best friend.
Diwali | 5 days from mid-October to mid-November
Each year between mid-October and mid-November, the festival of Diwali is celebrated across the Indian subcontinent over five days. The name is derived from the Sanskrit term dīpāvali, meaning “row of lights.” Diwali, which for some also coincides with harvest and new year celebrations, is a festival of new beginnings.
In the lead-up to Diwali, celebrants will prepare by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes and workplaces with diyas (oil lamps) and rangoli (colorful art circle patterns). During Diwali, people wear their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas and rangoli, light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared.
Día de los Muertos | Nov. 1-2
Also known as the Day of the Dead, El Día de los Muertos originated in Mexico but is celebrated throughout the world, especially by people of Mexican heritage. It is a holiday of joyful celebration and remembrance. The multiday holiday involves gathering with friends and family to pay respect to loved ones who have passed. These celebrations can take on a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about their loved ones. Traditions connected with the holiday include using calaveras (sugar skulls) and Aztec marigold flowers as decorations, building home altars called ofrendas with the favorite food and drink of the departed, and visiting graves with these items as gifts. It is also common to give gifts to friends such as candy sugar skulls, share pan de muerto, and write lighthearted and often irreverent verses dedicated to living friends and acquaintances. To learn more about this holiday, check out this article.
Native American Heritage Month | November
November is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the significant contributions of Native people. Below are some ways you and your family can observe Native American Heritage Month and Native American Heritage Day (the day after Thanksgiving).
Discover more about the Ramaytush Ohlone, the tribe that is indigenous to the Peninsula, here.
Explore Native Land Digital, an interactive map that allows you to identify which tribes live or lived in regions around the world.
Visit a museum or another local spot to learn more about the local Indigenous people.
- The San Mateo History Museum in downtown Redwood City has a fantastic display of local Native American history and artifacts (source of image of the Ohlone above).
- The Coyote Hills Regional Park has a display of Ohlone artifacts and celebrations.
Share a book about Native American culture.
Interested in learning more about how to talk about Thanksgiving in a more culturally relevant way with your children? Check out these resources:
Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day | November 14*
Ruby Bridges rose to fame as a 6-year-old when she became the first African-American to integrate an elementary school in the South on Nov. 14, 1960. Every November, communities across the country walk to school together to honor her bravery.
* If the November Walk to School date conflicts with Outdoor Ed, Arroyo observes this day in February, during Black History Month.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day | 3rd Monday of January
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
On the third Monday of January, we honor the achievements of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most influential civil rights leaders of the 1960s. Known for his advocacy of nonviolent actions to end racial segregation, King rose to national prominence during the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. He then led the 1963 March on Washington, which culminated in his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. His actions were instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He was tragically assassinated on April 4, 1968.
If you’re looking for a way to talk to your family about King and his legacy, here are a few ideas:
Read about his life and what he stood for:
I Am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer
I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.? by Bonnie Bader and Elizabeth Wolf
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Try a simple craft, like a peace sign or peace dove to hang in a window.
Watch a video about the life of MLK with your kids.
Lunar New Year | between late January and late February
Lunar New Year, Chinese Chunjie, Vietnamese Tet, Korean Solnal, Tibetan Losar, also called Spring Festival, is a holiday typically celebrated in China and other East Asian countries that begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, 15 days later.
Traditionally, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are reserved for family celebrations, including ceremonies honoring ancestors. Also on New Year’s Day, family members receive red envelopes (hong bao or lai see) containing money. Dances and fireworks are prevalent throughout the holidays.
The origins of the Lunar New Year festival are thousands of years old and are steeped in legends. One Chinese legend is that of Nian, a beast believed to terrorize the villages on New Year’s Day. Because Nian feared the color red, loud noises, and fire, red paper decorations were pasted to doors, lanterns were lit all night, and firecrackers were set off to frighten the beast away. Today, popular traditions still include red decorations, lanterns, lion dances and firecrackers.
Listen to author Grace Lin read her short story The Legend of the Fortune Gods.
Black History Month | February
Black History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and recognize their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history. Click here for more on how Black History Month began.
Are your kids getting ready for baseball season? Watch this read-aloud about Jackie Robinson.
Watch Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem “The Hill We Climb”.
Watch Disney/Pixar’s Oscar-winning film “Soul” starring Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey and explore the history of jazz (recommended for older kids).
Prepare a special dinner with your family highlighting traditional cuisines from predominantly Black countries. For inspiration, check out this great list of essential Nigerian recipes from New York Times contributor Yewande Komolafe. Kids can even help pick out a recipe and shop for ingredients!
Visit Parents.com for more ideas and resources.
Women’s History Month | March
Women’s History Month is a time to honor women’s contributions in American History. It grew out of a one-week celebration started in 1978 by the school district of Sonoma, California, and slowly spread across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 as Women’s History Week, and in 1987 it was expanded to a month. Find more information here. Ideas for diving a little deeper into women’s history with your family:
Go beyond U.S. history and explore women in global and modern history such as Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, Michelle Obama, Simone Biles, Sonia Sotomayor, and Maya Angelou.
Nowruz, Persian New Year | late March
Nowruz (Persian: نوروز, pronounced [nowˈɾuːz], literally “new day”) is the Persian term for the day of the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year. It begins on the spring equinox and is celebrated worldwide by more than 300 million people from various ethnolinguistic groups. The 3,000-year-old tradition is popular in the Middle East, the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, Central Asia and beyond. Hundreds of U.S. communities celebrate Nowruz, too. Los Angeles, home to one of the largest Persian populations outside Iran, hosts the biggest Nowruz festival in the country.
Nowruz is a largely secular holiday, meant to wish people prosperity for the new year and welcome in the future while shedding the past. Some families deep-clean their homes and closets and buy fresh clothing. It’s a month-long celebration filled with parties, craft making, street performances, and public rituals. To learn more about this holiday, check out these kids’ books:
- The New Year’s Goldfish
- Niko’s Nifty Nowruz
- Norooz A Celebration of Spring! The Persian New Year
- Soraya’s Nowruz Dance
You could also share a read-aloud of Seven Special Somethings: A Nowruz Story along with this video about a Haftseen (which means “the seven S’s”), a traditional table of symbolic items. Eid e shoma mobarak!
Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month | May
Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States. The AANHPI umbrella term includes cultures from the entire Asian continent — including East, Southeast, and South Asia — and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Learn more about the origins this month and why it is celebrated here.
If you’d like to learn more about AANHPI culture and history with your family, here are some ideas:
- Share a story written by an Asian author, featuring an Asian character or illustrated by an Asian artist with your child. There are many fantastic titles available. Kids can also explore books on Epic.
Watch “What These Asian American Families Love About Their Culture” for a glimpse into several different families’ experiences with their culture and traditions and what they hope to pass along to the next generation.
Plan a movie night! Ideas include “Over the Moon,” “Moana,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Big Hero 6,” and “Turning Red.”
Get crafty with these ideas inspired by “Over the Moon.”
Draw the red panda character Mei Lee from Pixar’s “Turning Red.”
Consider preparing a special meal with your family highlighting Asian cuisine or support a local Asian restaurant. For recipe inspiration, check out Hetty McKinnon, Maangchi, Hebbar’s Kitchen, Emmymade, Tejal Rao, Rainbow Plant Life, Cantonese Food Recipes on FB, Just One Cookbook, The Woks of Life, Hot Thai Kitchen, Panlasang Pinoy, Thokoh Makan, Milk and Cardamom, and Chetna Makan.
Pride Month | June
Pride Month occurs in June in the United States to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising in New York City, which occurred in June 1969 in response to police raids on gay and lesbian bars. The uprising inspired a generation of activists and helped form a civil rights movement to fight homophobia. Pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) community. Pride Month was federally recognized by President Bill Clinton in 1999. President Joe Biden declared June LGBTQ+ Pride Month in 2021.
Pride events can range from solemn to carnivalesque: Parades, street festivals, poetry readings, public speaking, and educational sessions. A common symbol of Pride is the rainbow flag, devised by artist Gilbert Baker to represent the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. The progress pride flag, created in 2018 by artist Daniel Quasar, adds white, pink, light blue, brown, and black to recognize transgender people and people of color.
Below are some books as well as links to articles, art projects, and local Pride events.
- Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders
- Grandad’s Pride by Harry Woodgate
- Hoʻonani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale
- Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution. by Rob Sanders
Resources and Activities
- 9 Ways to Celebrate Pride Month with Your Kids by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, including a coloring sheet
- Explore the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Pride Family Zone for craft activities (puffy paint rainbow art pictured), coloring pages, and more
- Consider attending the world famous San Francisco Pride Parade.