As the weather is starting to change and the leaves are changing color, there are many inclusive celebrations ahead. This is the perfect time to enjoy NAU and all it has to offer including the great diversity within the NAU community.
The month of October is Disability Pride and Heritage Month (DPHM). Disability Pride and Heritage Month is coordinated by the Commission on Disability Access and Design and the NAU 4 All student organization. Events during this month are designed to spark conversation about how students, faculty and staff can make a difference in assuring equitable participation for people with disabilities in our community and to illustrate the ways in which these efforts have transformed NAU and beyond. A list of events for DPHM can be found on CDAD’s website.
October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is the time to unite advocates across the nation in the effort to end domestic violence. The Commission on the Status of Women is hosting Tia Truss on Oct. 18, to share her story of resilience and personal transformation and to provide actionable steps to overcome challenges.
On Oct. 9, we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. NAU sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, on homelands that have been and remain sacred to Native Americans throughout the region. On this day, the nation celebrates America’s first inhabitants, and NAU honors their contributions, culture and partnerships as well. Join the HAPA Hawaiian Club, IMQ and the Office of Indigenous Student Success for Spam Fest from 6-8 p.m. Monday at the Native American Cultural Center.
National Coming Out Day is Oct. 11. This is a day when many people who identify as LGBTQ+ will “come out” to friends or family regarding their sexual identity. This is a tremendous moment! NAU will acknowledge National Coming Out Day with a series of events offered by the IMQ. As we create and foster an inclusive campus environment, we should be willing to offer the space and occasion for anyone to celebrate who they are. Explore the events IMQ is holding throughout October, which also is LGBT History Month.
International Pronoun Day is scheduled for Oct. 18. It is an inclusive practice to refer to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns negatively affects transgender and gender non-conforming people. It is important that we celebrate everyone’s intersecting identities. If you want to learn more about pronouns, please refer to this guide.
As you are assisting NAU in enhancing and fostering an inclusive environment, try to offer a listening ear, which can often mean staying silent. Encourage others to share their story. Understanding, compassion and empathy can create a strong sense of belonging for those who need support from an NAU community member.
Always remember, we are better when we work together.
Vice President of Inclusive Excellence