To the UConn Community:
The Office for Diversity and Inclusion and the Provost’s Office would like to remind you of several celebrations, commemorations, and moments of raising awareness for members of our community during the month of September:
Labor Day (September 5th): This federal holiday, always held on the first Monday of September, celebrates the American labor movement and pays tribute to American workers. While this day is set aside to celebrate improvements made to working conditions in the United States, September also has three other labor-related holidays that remind us of the continued need to address race- and gender-based disparities in pay:
Native Women’s Equal Pay Day (September 8th): On average, Native and Indigenous Women make 60 cents for every dollar made by white men of comparable skills and training. This day brings awareness to the fact that Native and Indigenous women would have to work 21 months to earn the same amount that a white man in a comparable position earns in 12 months – she would have to work through September 8th of the following year to earn the same amount.
International Equal Pay Day (September 18th): This day was first acknowledged in 2019 to illuminate persistent pay discrimination and wage gaps that disproportionately affect women and people of color across all occupations. Unequal pay leads to lower wealth accumulation and has generational impacts.
National Black Women’s Equal Pay Day (September 21st): First celebrated by The National Committee on Pay Equity in 1996, this day highlights the impacts of institutional racism in the workplace, especially regarding pay. On average, Black women make 62 cents for every dollar paid to a white man. This day also recognizes that inequalities created by pay disparity have generational consequences, a problem that has been exacerbated during the pandemic.
ODI believes that working to address the systems that create inequity for any group will help address the systems that create inequity for every group. UConn provides professional development resources for these and other identity-based groups who face unique challenges on entering the workforce. See more at the Center for Career Development.
Hispanic Heritage Month: (September 15th – October 15th): Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the many diverse cultures and histories within Hispanic and Latinx/a/o communities, as well as members of those culture’s achievements and contributions to the United States. First recognized as Hispanic Heritage Week by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, it was expanded to a full month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. This month is observed from September 15th – the anniversary of Guatemalan, Honduran, El Salvadorian, Nicaraguan, and Costa Rican independence – through October 15th. It also includes Día de la Raza on October 12th, an alternative holiday to Columbus Day that celebrates and honors the peoples, traditions, and cultures destroyed by European colonization. This year’s theme is “Unidos: Inclusion for a Stronger Nation.”
This Hispanic Heritage Month, we invite the entire community to participate in the Puerto Rican / Latin American Cultural Center’s (PRLACC) events:
- Latinx/a/o Heritage Month Open House: Thursday, September 15, 3:00PM – 5:00PM, Student Union room 438. Join us for an open house to kick-off the celebration of our Heritage Month. Learn about the exciting programs PRLACC is having for this academic year, meet our Latinx/a/o undergraduate and graduate students, savor delicious Latinx/a/o appetizers while admiring our historical timeline to keep celebrating our 50th Los esperamos!
- Puerto Rican Student Movement: Wednesday, September 21, 5:00 PM – 7:00PM, Student Union room 438. The LxSLC Council will be hosting an event to share the history behind and showcase videos about the Center.
- Que Bonita Bandera: Thursday, September 29, 6:00PM – 8:00PM, Student Union room 438. Come show some pride, paint your flag, and de-stress!
- Illuminating the Path. Thursday, October 6, at 7:00 PM in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. As part of our 50th anniversary, we have commissioned a musical piece by composer Paola Marquez to be premiered at UConn, featuring our own alumna Angie Durrell ’11 (violin). The musicians will also include two other UConn Alumni: Jonathan Garcia ’12 (trumpet) and Joseph Bush ’15 (piano). This event will include a concert to highlight a musical soundscape through Latin America and the Caribbean, and a conversation with the composer. See more at uconn.edu.
Also be sure to check out events held by La Comunidad Intelectual, a learning community that works to create a welcoming space on campus for students who identify as Latinx/a/o and/or who are interested in issues that affect the Latin American and Caribbean communities. Check out their Instagram page for upcoming events!
We also invite the entire community to UConn Hartford’s event, “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” Co-sponsored by UConn School of Law and UConn School of Social Work, this in-person event will be held on Thursday, September 15th, from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM in the Hartford Public Library’s CCC Rooms. Please RSVP by September 13th.
ODI and the Provost’s Office also believe that UConn is stronger for the inclusion of Hispanic and Latinx/a/o peoples, cultures, and traditions. The University has resources to help these communities navigate the unique challenges in higher education settings, including PRLACC, the Association of Latinx/a/o Faculty and Staff (ALFAS), and the Center for Career Development. UConn is also proud of El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies, which supports the developing of hemispheric and Latinx/a/o-centered perspectives and of La Comunidad Intelectual, a learning community that recognizes and critically examines Latinx/a/o, Caribbean, and Latin American cultures, customs, and traditions at UConn and beyond.
National Recovery Month: September is National Recovery Month, a time set aside to assist the road to recovery for the more than 20 million Americans who are experiencing one or more substance use disorders. This month not only educates Americans about the substance use treatments and mental health services that can help those with substance use disorders live a healthier and more rewarding life, but also celebrates the gains made by those already in recovery – gains that often go unrecognized in wider conversations.
The theme of National Recovery Month 2022 is Recovery for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community. The goal of this month is to reinforce the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, that treatment is effective, and that people can and do recover. This month reminds us that no one is alone in the journey through recovery. While every journey is different, we are all in this together. At UConn, we endeavor to ensure that substance use is not a barrier to academic, personal, or professional success. Please visit Student Health and Wellness’s (SHaW) Alcohol and Substance Use Support and UConn’s Recovery Support Services page for resources, trainings, and opportunities for support on your journey.
National Trail of Tears Remembrance Day (September 16th): On this day, we acknowledge the forced displacement of Native and Indigenous peoples from their lands. September 16th is the National Day of Commemoration for the Trail of Tears, when citizens of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Creek, and Chickasaw Nations and other Eastern tribal nations were violently removed from their homelands by the United States government after the passage of the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Relocated peoples suffered from continual violence, disease, and starvation during and after displacement.
We also recognize that UConn occupies lands taken from Native and Indigenous peoples accounted for in the Land Acknowledgement statement, and we encourage reading this statement out loud before any event held on university property, incorporating it in UConn websites, and including it in course syllabi. Furthermore, we note that the University continues to profit off of sale of other land taken by violent dispossession under the auspices of the 1862 Morrill Act. To see UConn’s participation in this legacy, visit the Land Grab CT website, a resource put together by UConn’s Greenhouse Studios in conjunction with the Native American Cultural Programs (NACP), the Native American and Indigenous Students Association (NAISA), and the Dodd Impact Initiative at the Human Rights Institute.
Patriot Day (September 11th): This day honors those who perished in or as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including first responders and military service members. Flags are flown at half-staff on this day, and Americans are encouraged to honor the victims through acts of service.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind military service members that you are important to UConn, which recognizes the unique challenges you face in higher education. The Office of Veterans Affairs and Military Programs (VAMP) provides student support services specifically for veterans, active service members, and their families attending UConn. Their services include certifying VA educational benefits, assisting students in their transition to life at UConn, and providing supplemental programs and activities to student veterans. VAMP works closely with the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), which has a wealth of resources for veterans regardless of ability status. VAMP also works closely with state-based Veterans Centers that provide fully confidential mental and behavioral health assistance.
Rosh Hashanah: (Sundown September 25th – Sundown September 27th): Rosh Hashanah, which is Hebrew for “first of the year,” is one of the holiest days in Judaism, celebrating the New Year, the birthday of the Universe, and the creation of Adam and Eve. It is part of the High Holidays with Yom Kippur, which comes 10 days later (October 4th-5th). Rosh Hashanah is a time of rejoicing and introspection; it offers an occasion to celebrate the completion of another year while also providing an opportunity to take stock of one’s life and contemplate the upcoming year. Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah is observed with sounding a ram’s horn on both days (unless either day falls on Shabbat), and with sweet foods like challah bread with raisins or apples dipped in honey to symbolize wishes for a sweet new year.
UConn Hillel will hold several events for this year’s Rosh Hashanah celebration, including Erev Rosh Hashanah services and dinner on Sunday, September 25th at 6:30 PM; Tashlich and Lunch on Monday, September 26th at 9:30 AM; evening service and dinner at 6:00 PM; and services and lunch on Tuesday at 9:30 AM. These events are free and open to the entire UConn community. Please visit Hillel’s website for more.
Suicide Prevention Month and Week: September is Suicide Prevention Month. Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) host World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 to focus attention on the problem of suicide worldwide. The week leading up to this day is Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is a particular concern in the United States – it is the second leading cause of death for 10- to 34-year-olds. This month serves as a moment for creating awareness about suicide, to inspire people to learn how to help save lives in their community, and to learn to have authentic and caring conversations about suicide and mental health.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health or having suicidal thoughts, please know that you are not alone. The University has resources to help through times of crisis. The Office for Diversity and Inclusion has also gathered a partial list of mental health resources for students, staff, and faculty at all five UConn campuses, as well as for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and veteran communities. There is also help available whenever you need it and wherever you may be. UConn has several resources for getting immediate support. As of summer 2022, the federal government has also instituted a new national suicide prevention hotline, 988, that can be called for immediate support 24/7.
Suicide prevention should not be limited to a single day, week, or month, but should receive attention every day. For those who are struggling, please remember that you matter and that there are resources dedicated to helping you in your time of need.
We welcome the observance of each of these celebrations, commemorations, and moments of raising awareness on our campuses and encourage support for those requiring accommodations. You can find information about guidance on academic accommodations for religious observations on the Provost Office’s Religious Observation Calendar.
To see more information about resources and events happening this month and throughout the remainder of the semester, please visit our events page at www.diversity.uconn.edu/events.
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Jeffrey F. Hines, MD
Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, UConn Health