July 2023 Heritage Celebrations

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 July:

Heritage Month Celebrations:

Disability Pride Day (July 26th) and Month: In the United States, Disability Pride Month is celebrated in July to commemorate the July 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), which provides civil rights protections ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.  In 2008, the ADA was expanded with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) that expanded the definition of “disability” in order to simplify the process for establishing a disability in order to seek ADA protections. July 26th is celebrated as Disability Pride Day in honor of the ADA while Disability Pride Month provides an annual observance to promote visibility for the 160 million Americans with a disability and to raise awareness of about the pride felt by people with disabilities. Disability Pride Month explores the lives of people with disabilities in positive ways while also endeavoring to create spaces for people with disabilities to explore their own lives in positive and public ways.

UConn seeks to ensure that students with disabilities have the same access to programs, opportunities, and activities as all others at UConn. The primary pathway for providing that access comes from the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), which offers a variety of programs and services for students with disabilities, including at UConn Health. Faculty and staff can also request OIE’s training to increase awareness and understanding of disability access and responsibilities at UConn. UConn also offers a Certificate of Interdisciplinary Disability Studies in Public Health.

French American Heritage Month: In the United States, July is designated as the month to celebrate the significant contributions made by to the United States by people of French descent. Approximately 12.5 million Americans are of French or French Canadian decent, including 750,000 Creole peoples. This month also celebrates historical events that cemented the important relationship between the United States and France.

Cultural and Federal Holidays:

Independence Day (July 4th): The 4th of July is a national holiday commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Though organized around celebrating American independence from England, July 4th also provides an opportunity to celebrate the diverse peoples and cultures who make up our nation.

Religious Holidays:

Karka Sankranti (July 16th): Karka Sankranti is a Hindu observance and festival that celebrates the sun’s journey from the Northern to the Southern hemisphere. This marks the end of the six-month Uttarayana period of the Hindu calendar and the start of Dakshinayana, which ends with January’s Marka Sankranti. Dedicated to the sun deity, Surya, Karka is typically celebrated through acts of charity.

Muharram (July 19th – August 17th): Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, second only to Ramadan in importance and holiness.  Many Muslims celebrate the first day of Muharram as the Islamic New Year (July 19th) marking the start of the lunar year. Muslims celebrate the new year by visiting the mosque, praying for well-being, and spending time with loved ones. They also traditionally cook something sweet to share when breaking their fast. Muharram also includes Ashura (July 27th – 28th), which mourns the martyrdom of Ḥusayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad. Traditions and celebrations vary across locations and between Shia and Sunni peoples – Sunnis consider this a day of respect but do not take part in mourning traditions.

Hajj [Pilgrimage] (June 26th – July 1st): Hajj, or “pilgrimage” is one of the five pillars of Islam and a mandatory once-in-a-lifetime religious duty for all adult Muslims who are able.  During Hajj, millions make the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where they perform rituals to remind them that they are all equal before God and celebrate Islamic unity. Hajj is the most revered spiritual experience for Muslims.

Ashura (July 27th – 28th): This holy day for Muslims is celebrated on the tenth day of Muharram; this year, that falls on July 27th.  Traditions and celebrations vary across locations and between Shia and Sunni peoples.  Shia Muslims typically see it as the most important day of Muharram, which mourns the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.  For Sunni Muslims, Ashura commemorates the day God saved  Moses and his followers were saved from Pharaoh by creating a path in the Red Sea. 

Eid al-Adha (June 28th – July 2nd): Eid al-Adha is the second and holiest Islamic Eid festival of the year. Known as the “Festival of the Sacrifice” – or colloquially as “Big Eid” – Eid al-Adha honors the willingness of Ibrahim (known as Abraham in the Christian and Jewish traditions) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah; before Ibrahim carried out the command, however, Allah produced a lamb for him to sacrifice instead. Traditions vary from place to place, but celebrations typically include congregational prayers at a mosque, the sharing of meat, gift-giving, and inviting members of other faiths to opportunities that better acquaint them with Islam and Muslim culture.

Tisha B’av (July 26th – July 27th): This annual fast day mourns the destruction of the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem on the same calendar day 655 years apart.  Tisha B’av is remembered by Jews all over the world to recall the sufferings of the Jewish people.  This day of mourning is typically held on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av,  unless the ninth falls on Shabbat, in which case Tish B’av is celebrated on the tenth day of Av.

We welcome the celebration of each of these holidays on our campuses and encourage support for those requiring accommodations. You can find information and guidance about academic accommodations for religious observations on the Provost Office’s webpage.

To see more information about resources and events happening this month and throughout the semester, please visit our events page at www.diversity.uconn.edu/events. ODI writes these letters in collaboration with our partners across the UConn system. If we inadvertently omitted a cultural or religious holiday, please let us know by emailing us at diversity@uconn.edu.



Frank, Anne, and Jeff

Frank Tuitt
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

Anne D’Alleva
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Jeffrey F. Hines, MD
Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, UConn Health