Join your friends in celebrating national heritage months through lectures, performances, art exhibits, and special events.
Attend cultural heritage month events to spark your interest in a particular culture, or make lasting friends on campus. The Office of Intercultural Development also holds events that help students delve into a deeper understanding of complex cultural issues.
The United States Congress passed a joint congressional resolution in 1978 to commemorate Asian American Heritage Week during the first week of May. This date was chosen because two important anniversaries occurred during this time: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to America on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (by many Chinese laborers) on May 10, 1869. In 1990, Congress voted to expand it from a week to a month-long celebration, and in May 1992, the month of May was permanently designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Lafayette College begins celebrating the month in April as students typically leave campus for summer break in early May.
Black Heritage Month is celebrated annually during the month of February. Originally founded as Negro History Week in 1926 by Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, its purpose is to acknowledge, inform, and create an understanding for the many contributions of Africans and African-Americans to world history. The Office of Intercultural Development prefers the term “heritage” over “history” because our programs focus on the past, present, and future of black culture.
Hispanic Heritage Week was approved by President Lyndon Johnson and then expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15th and ending on October 15th. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402. September 15th is recognized as the independence day of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its anniversary of independence on September 16th, and Chile on September 18th. These events, celebrating Hispanic and Latino cultures and their varied nature, challenge us to understand the relationship between the struggle of individuals to define themselves, the communal and individual creative impulse, and the fight for larger issues of social justice.
LGBT Pride Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. On June 2, 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month.” President Barack Obama expanded the title to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Pride Month on June 1, 2009. Since most students are not on campus in June, LGBT Pride is celebrated year-round, with a T-shirt campaign in April.
Join QuEST for a neutral environment in which to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity issues.
In 1979, the school district of Sonoma, California, participated in Women’s History Week, an event designed around the week of March 8th (International Women’s Day). In 1981, responding to the growing popularity of the event, Congress passed a resolution recognizing Women’s History Week. This week was well received, and schools across the country soon after began their own local celebrations. In the following year, leaders from the California group shared their project at the Women’s History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. In 2001, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) co-sponsored the first joint congressional resolution proclaiming a “Women’s History Month” in March.