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Notable International and National Human Rights Events and Diversity Holidays for the Month

Information from a calendar of annual human rights observances on the Morgantown City website and from Diversity Resources.

January 1: Emancipation Proclamation
On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln declared all individuals held in slavery to be free. This was the start of slaves being freed in the U.S.; however, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 (now celebrated as Juneteenth) that slavery was ended across the Confederacy.

January 4: Louis Braille’s Birthday
Louis Braille created the popular tactile reading and writing system known as “braille.” The system has stood the test of time, and it has increased accessibility to the visually impaired.

January 16: Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther Ling, Jr.
Established in 1983 and Monday observed for the first time on January 20, 1986. Also known as King Service Day – Federal legislation signed in 1994 challenged Americans to transform the King holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service.

January 18: World Religion Day
Observance to proclaim the oneness of religion and the belief that world religion will unify the peoples of the earth.

January 27: Holocaust Memorial Day
Annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust coinciding with the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz
death camp in 1945. The United Nations urges all its member states to honor Nazi era victims and to develop education programs to help prevent future genocides.

January 29: Oprah Winfrey's Birthday
Happy Birthday to the Queen of Media! Oprah became North America’s first Black billionaire after being a talk show host and philanthropist for decades. Consider selecting a book from Oprah’s Book Club that pertains to diversity matters

Religious Holidays for the Month

Information from a calendar of diversity events from Diversity Resources.

January 6: Feast of the Epiphany
On the 12th day of Christmas, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. They believe this is when the three wise men arrived to baby Jesus after following the star. Around the world, countries celebrate this by dressing up like the three wise men and decorating floats.

January 15: Makar Sankranti
Our January diversity calendar includes the Hindu festival dedicated to Surya, the god of the sun. Hindus celebrate this day by having morning
prayer and then engaging in kite competitions. Consider flying a kite of your own this day!

January 22: Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year is the beginning of a calendar year whose months are moon cycles. In East Asia and Southeast Asia, the Lunar New Year is a festival that marks this time. You may also hear it called the Chinese New Year in China. This multicultural celebration is celebrated by offering gifts to others in red
envelopes, lighting fireworks and firecrackers, and putting up decorations.