Inclusive Insights: April 2024

Hello Lumberjacks, 

As we continue to have wintry days in Flagstaff, April is sure to bring us more snow along with some great celebrations, observances and the excitement of getting closer to finishing the semester at NAU.  

Many religious observances take place during the month of April. The spiritual beliefs that many of us hold also help create our individual identities, and they play a role in our lived experiences as well. We are reaching the end of Ramadan, which started March 10 and ends April 9. During this time, those of the Islamic faith fast from sunrise to sunset and focus on contemplation and reflection.  

The Indian holiday Vaisakhi will be celebrated on April 13 this year. Vaisakhi is one of the biggest festivals for Sikhs, and millions of Sikhs around the world use this day to celebrate the start of the Punjabi New Year. 

The holiday of Passover, or Pesach, is an eight-day festival commemorating the liberation of Jewish peoples from slavery in ancient Egypt. Passover begins at sundown on April 22 with a seder meal and will conclude on April 30.  

Christians around the world have already observed Good Friday and Easter. Good Friday acknowledges the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ and is a day of reflection. Easter Sunday is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, according to the Christian Bible. 

Additionally, a total solar eclipse will take place on April 8. I have learned this event is a significant cultural occurrence for our Indigenous community. Indigenous Peoples have a wide diversity of beliefs and traditional practices that surround celestial events, and an eclipse is a reverent event that requires the observation of cultural protocols to show respect during this cosmic shift. Some Indigenous people will not communicate with others, eat, drink, sleep or venture outside during the eclipse. Moreover, direct observance of the eclipse is prohibited.

April is also the month in which we celebrate Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month along with Pride Week. NAU will host a series of events to honor each of these important recognitions. The list of events can be found on the Office of Inclusion website. 

Since 2001, the United States also has recognized April as Sexual Assault Awareness month, the goal being to empower individuals to take action to prevent sexual assault in our communities. We want to continue promoting awareness and prevention.  

As we near the end of the academic year and prepare to celebrate those graduating in May, the month of April is also National Hope Month, and it is my hope that we will continue to hold space for each other and  learn about the lived experiences of others, taking time to appreciate and scrutinize different perspectives and opinions. There is not a price on being nice and showing empathy to another person. Let’s continue to uphold the values we pride ourselves on in being Lumberjacks.  

Always remember, “we are better when we work together.” Enjoy the last full month of the semester and FINISH STRONG!! 


Justin Mallett
Vice President of Inclusive Excellence and Access 

NAU Communications