Diversity and Inclusion Awareness Series
Haynes Boone participates with the Equal Employment Opportunity Special Emphasis Observances series to promote diversity and inclusion awareness and education. We honor the rich history each month by celebrating the achievements, sacrifices and contributions these diverse groups have made within our history and society.
Learn about recent observances below.
Our Focus on National Heritage
The first observance of the Federal legal holiday honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was established on January 20, 1986. This holiday serves as time for Americans to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr.; and it is appropriate for the Federal Government to coordinate efforts with Americans of diverse backgrounds and with private organizations in the observance of the Federal legal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.
President Gerald Ford nationally recognized Black History Month in 1976 through presidential proclamation. However, the origins of Black History Month actually date further back to the beginning of the 20th century and the efforts of Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Dr. Woodson earned a graduate degree from the University of Chicago and was the second African American, after W.E.B. Du Bois, to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the only person, whose parents were enslaved in the United States, to earn a Ph.D. Most of his academic career was spent teaching at Howard University, a historical Black university, where he eventually served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The first Negro History Week began in February 1926 and was chosen to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. Across the nation, schools, communities and civic organizations began adopting this celebration as an opportunity to educate and extol Black history. In the 1940s, these efforts organically expanded from a weeklong recognition to a longer event, eventually leading to the adoption of Black History Month by groups throughout the country.
Since the mid-1970s, every U.S. president has issued a proclamation observing the heritage of Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford called upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Haynes Boone celebrates Pride Month in June. During this month, we celebrate the history and contributions of the LGBTQ+ communities around the world.
Pride Month is celebrated in June in commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising (a/k/a Stonewall Riots), which began June 28, 1969. On that night, police raided the Stonewall Inn, which was a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village. The patrons fought back against the police’s violent treatment and the event kicked off six days of protests by members of the LGBTQ+ community in Greenwich Village. The event became a catalyst for the Gay Pride movement in the US.
From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month honors the histories, cultures, and contributions of our American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Hispanic Heritage Month originally started as a commemorative week introduced in June of 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown. In September of the same year, Congress passed a public law officially authorizing and requesting President Lyndon B. Johnson to issue annual proclamation, declaring National Hispanic Heritage Week. President Johnson issued the proclamation the same day.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) takes place each October to celebrate the many contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme of NDEAM 2021 is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.” The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945 when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
In 1976, Congress designated a week of October to celebrate Native American Awareness Week. The week served as recognition for the great influence American Indians have had upon the U.S. Yearly legislation was enacted to continue the tradition until August of 1990, when President Bush approved the designation of November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Each year a similar proclamation is issued. President Clinton noted in 1996, "Throughout our history, American Indian and Alaska Native peoples have been an integral part of the American character. Against all odds, America's first peoples have endured, and they remain a vital cultural, political, social, and moral presence." November is an appropriate month for the celebration because it is traditionally a time when many American Indians hold fall harvest and world-renewal ceremonies, powwows, dances, and various feasts. The holiday recognizes hundreds of different tribes and approximately 250 languages, and celebrates the history, tradition, and values of American Indians. National American Indian Heritage Month serves as a reminder of the positive effect native peoples have had on the cultural development and growth of the U.S., as well as the struggles and challenges they have faced.