Equity & Inclusion Newsletter

April 2022

National Arab American Heritage Month

In 2021, the US State Department recognized National Arab American Heritage Month for the first time, and this year has done so again, in addition to other governmental agencies throughout the United States. Check out the collection of resources below which work to honor the history, culture, and stories of Arab Americans past and present as a starting point.

Recent Work Spotlight

In Human Rights classes at PHS with Mrs. Clark, students recently studied healthcare systems, analyzed some of the challenges associated with healthcare, the type of healthcare system we have in the United States, and compared to alternate approaches to systems, such as universal healthcare. Students more deeply explored challenges associated with healthcare systems through scenarios in an adaptation of the Game of Life. In doing so, students experientially considered the importance of, benefits of, and costs of health insurance, and challenges people face without access to insurance through playing the game with their peers, and reflected together in a fishbowl discussion.

Human Rights is a 1/2 year Social Studies elective which focuses on the history of human rights and the Declaration of Human Rights, the exploration of national and international human rights violations and issues, and ways in which these issues can be addressed through education and action.

Disabilities Awareness

Region 15 believes in the inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of community life, as well as promoting awareness of the barriers that people with disabilities still sometimes face in connecting to the communities in which they live, work, learn, and play in and doing our part to dismantle those barriers.

March was Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, which is highlighted in the background image of this edition of the newsletter. The image features the bulletin board displayed outside of one of our preschool classrooms at LMES, Dr. Poole-Cusano's classroom! Read more here from the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities here.

Additionally, April marks Autism Acceptance Month and there is an abundance of information you can find here from the Autism Society of America.

Calendar of Religious Observances: April 2022

Why is this information important?

  • The towns of Middlebury and Southbury are made up of families representing many different religious and cultural identities.

  • The information below is offered as a resource to increase awareness of & respect for religious observations and ethnic and cultural festivities. These observances may affect students, colleagues and neighbors in our community.

What are some ways this information can be used?

Calendar planning by for use in scheduling and planning details, for example:

  • workplace festivities

  • community events

  • school activities and exams

Apr. 3 - May 2: Ramadan: (Islamic): Observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad. Ends with Eid

Apr. 10: Palm Sunday: (Christian) Observed the Sunday before Easter/Pascha to commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem

Apr. 10 Rama Navami: (Hindu) Celebrates the birthday of Rama, king of ancient India, hero of the epic Ramayana, and seventh incarnation of Vishnu

Apr. 14 Vaisakhi (also spelled Baisakhi): (Sikh) The festival which celebrates the founding of the Sikh community as the Khalsa (community of the initiated). On this day, Sikhs gather and celebrate at their local Gurdwaras (Sikh house of worship) by remembering this day as the birth of the Khalsa.

Apr. 14 Holy Thursday: (Christian) Also known as Maundy Thursday, it is celebrated on the Thursday before Easter commemorating the Last Supper, at which Jesus and the Apostles were together for the last time before the Crucifixion.

Apr. 15: Good Friday: (Christian) Known as Holy Friday in Eastern Christianity, it commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus on the Friday before Easter/Pascha.

Apr. 16 Theravada New Year: (Buddhist) In Theravada countries the New Year is celebrated on the first full moon day in April

Apr. 15 - 23 Passover/Pesach: (Jewish) The eight-day “Feast of Unleavened Bread” celebrates Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

Apr. 17 Easter: (Christian) Known as Pascha in Eastern Christianity, it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.

Apr. 27 Lailat Al-Qadr: (Islamic) Commemorates the night that the Qur'an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It is known as the “Night of Power.” Often set on the 27th day of Ramadan, Sunnis may observe it on the 21st, 23rd, 25th or 29th and Shīʿite (Shiite) observe it on the 19th, 21st or 23rd day of Ramadan.

Apr. 28 Yom Hashoah: (Jewish) Holocaust Remembrance Day memorializes the heroic martyrdom of six million Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust.

And coming soon in May...

May 2 Eid Al-Fitr: (Islamic) The “Feast of the Breaking of the Fast” marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting from dawn until dusk.

May 16 Visakha Puja: (Buddhist) Also known as Vesak or Buddha Day, it marks the birth, spiritual awakening and death (nirvana) of the historical Buddha. (This date may vary based on region or sect.)

May 19 Lag B’omer: (Jewish) Celebrates the end of a divine-sent plague and/or Roman occupation during Rabbi Akiva’s lifetime (died c. 135 CE).

May 26 Ascension Day: (Christian) Also known as Holy Thursday, celebrated 40 days after Easter/Pascha, it commemorates the ascension of Jesus into Heaven

Summer Opportunity for Youth 14-18

From NCCJ (National Conference for Community & Justice): "NCCJ ANYTOWN is a nationally recognized and award-winning diversity, leadership, and social justice program for youth ages 14 - 18. Founded in 1957, NCCJ ANYTOWN is designed to educate, liberate and empower youth participants (Delegates) to become effective, responsible leaders and community builders. For six days and five nights, a diverse group of high school students come together to build a community based on respect, understanding, and inclusivity."

Sun Aug 7-Fri Aug 12 in Griswold, CT

Click here to learn more and apply as a youth delegate or as a staff member

Community Learning Opportunities

  • Design for Belonging Webinar: "What does it mean to design for belonging? How can our schools, organizations, and communities design for belonging? What happens if we don’t? How can paying attention to belonging help us as we design new experiences and ways of being together?" National Equity Project, 4/29, 5pm, Register here.
  • Dismantling Systemic Racism Conference, CT State Educational Resource Center, 5/6, 9-2, Register here.
  • Institute for American Indian Studies Summer Camp, More info & registration here
  • More Than A Game: A Look at US-Japan Relations through Baseball Webinar. May 16, 7-8 pm ET. US diplomatic historian Thomas Zeiler explores baseball as a window to teach about power, culture, and profits in US-Japanese/Asian relations, with a focus on the 20th century, Five Colleges for East Asian Studies, Register.

Contact & Social Media

Instagram: @r15equity_inclusion

*Note: Image (c) 2019 CLC Collective and Dottir Press