January 15: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Leader of the non-violent civil rights movement toward racial equality in the United States of America. As you grow with this holiday, challenge your scope and understanding from year to year. Read a different speech of his each year. Focus collectively on a different quote each year.
March 3: Claudette Colvin Day: This is not a birthday, but a day of awakening after Black History Month. In 1955, fueled by the learning about Black history, this was the day of Claudette Colvin’s revolutionary action, of sitting when asked to stand on a Montgomery Bus, for which she got arrested. “With Harriet Tubman on one shoulder and Sojourner Truth on the other one, History had me glued to the seat!” Rosa Parks, who hosted the youth group at the NAACP, invited her to speak about it many times, and only nine months later, was arrested herself for this action, which is said to have spurred forth the Civil Rights Movement. Ultimately the Montgomery Bus Boycott, ignited by Rosa’s action, ended in a win due to Claudette Colvin’s testimony against bussing discrimination at the Supreme Court. Here are some resources to explore: https://youngethicalexplorers.blogspot.com/search?q=Claudette
April 1: Wangari Maathai Day (environment/planting/trees): Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan biologist, was the first Nobel Peace Laureate (2004) to honor Earth’s care as integral to Human Peace. She founded the GreenBelt Movement, educating women in Kenya to plant millions of trees for the betterment of their own lives and the health of the earth for all humanity. Check out these resources: https://youngethicalexplorers.blogspot.com/search?q=wangari. One idea from Ethical NYC is a TREE & ME FEST where participants write and share from their “tree voice,” choosing a part of the tree to speak from, like the bark or the sap: http://youngethicalexplorers.blogspot.com/2020/04/yee-tree-voices.html
June 27: Helen Keller Day: Helen Keller was an impressive American author, disability rights advocate, political activist and lecturer born on June 27, 1880. After losing her sight and hearing at 19 months old, she had to work hard to learn reading, writing, signing, and speaking skills. She became a world-famous speaker and author who campaigned for people with disabilities, women’s suffrage, labor rights, and world peace. One self-expanding way of celebrating Helen Keller is learning to convey your own name in braille alphabet and in sign language.
July 12: Malala Day (education equality): This child hero, now grown, risked her life standing up for girls’ education in the face of the Taliban in Pakistan. Children all over the world gain their educational wings in learning of her courage. See http://youngethicalexplorers.blogspot.com/search?q=malal
July 18: Madiba Day – The Birthday of Nelson Mandela: From Revolutionary, to Prisoner to President, Nelson Mandela led the country of South Africa out of Apartheid through a non-violent Truth and Reconciliation Process. His nickname was The Rainbow Man, MADIBA.