When many lose hope about the division in our nation, events honoring human rights serve as a light in the darkness. Society needs to remember the joyous feeling of doing something for a good cause to help others. At a time when altruism seems hard to find and simple acts of human kindness get overshadowed by depressing news, it’s important to celebrate events honoring the representation of human nature’s better side.
1. April 2: World Autism Awareness Day
Wear blue proudly on this day to support those who have autism, as well as their families. Autism impacts a child’s ability to have social interactions normally and sometimes causes tics, or repetitive behaviors. Those wishing to support the cause can participate in walks to raise awareness.
2. April 22: Earth Day
Earth Day celebrates the historic day in 1970 when protesters took to the streets en masse to address the pollution caused by industries. Multiple activities exist for celebrating this day, from planting a tree to participating in a beach or roadside cleanup.
3. May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
Those identifying as homosexual, bisexual or transsexual face higher risks of suicide and, sadly, homicide, due to continuing prejudice. This worldwide event has several ways for those who identify with different sexual preferences or gender identities and their allies to raise awareness.
4. May 29th: National Senior Health & Fitness Day
- Every year, the last Wednesday in May marks National Senior Health & Fitness Day. Thousands of older adults get chances to participate in a variety of fun physical activities at more than 1,000 locations across the US. The initiative aims to address the very real problem of depression and lack of mobility in seniors. Consider researching the holiday more and taking a beloved elder out to enjoy one of these events near you!
5. June 8: World Ocean Day
Beaches and oceans around the world contain high levels of plastic pollution which causes the death of marine animals. Single-use plastics also make our shores look like a frat house after a kegger. To help prevent ocean wildlife from ingesting non-digestible plastic waste, sign up to be a part of a cleanup effort nearby.
6. July 18: Nelson Mandela International Day
Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, spent years in jail for his commitment to ending racism and apartheid. In his later years, Mandela played a major role in calling for an end to prejudice against those with HIV and AIDS. People can honor his legacy by taking action to lift those discriminated against or the economically challenged.
7. Aug. 12: World Elephant Day
Elephants rank among the most intelligent animals on earth. They bury their dead and even occasionally bury human corpses they find. Despite their altruistic nature, these magnificent animals are often tortured and chained for life. People can sign a pledge to help elephants, or start their own local movement to raise awareness and funds for preserves where rescued elephants can live in peace.
8. Aug. 19: World Humanitarian Day
Few people think to thank those who travel to the most remote and impoverished areas of the globe to help those dwelling there. World Humanitarian Day honors health workers, social workers, builders and all those who take on the daunting task of ensuring people have clean water, food and medical care. Contributions are welcomed to aid in their efforts to cover costs associated with travel and supplies.
9. Sept. 10: World Suicide Prevention Day
In the U.S., the number of suicides rises almost daily. Factors such as health woes, economic insecurity and mental disease lead far too many to commit the ultimate act. Resources are available, but those in the darkest days of life often find it difficult to reach out. Concerned individuals who use social media can spread the word with posts sharing the official hashtags for this somber day.
10. Nov. 13: World Kindness Day
Society today seems so dog-eat-dog that acts of kindness take people by surprise. Use this day to practice random acts of kindness toward strangers. Pay for the meal for the next car in line at the drive-thru. Tip your pizza delivery guy 50 percent for no reason. Give the homeless person on the sidewalk a few dollars for a meal.
Making the World a Better Place
To improve our world, we all need to step out of our comfort zones and do a bit more to help our fellow peers. These social justice celebrations honor the potential for good all people possess. After all, if we’re not here to help each other, what are we here for at all?