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CANR Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access Posts

National Hispanic American Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual observance that runs from September 15 to October 15. During this time, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) celebrates the contributions of Hispanic Americans to agriculture, nutrition, food, development, and natural resources.

According to the Census Bureau, there were over 62 million Hispanics and Latinos living on the U.S. mainland and 3.3 million living in Puerto Rico in 2021. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities projects that the Hispanic and Latino share of the labor force will reach 35.9 million in 2030, accounting for 78% of the net new workers between 2020 and 2030.

History of Hispanic Heritage Month

The celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to extend the celebration to a month-long event, starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. The date of September 15 is significant because it marks the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

The 2023 Theme

The theme for Hispanic Heritage Month 2023 is “Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America.” This theme recognizes the immense economic and political strides made by Hispanic Americans and their contributions to the prosperity and progress of the country. It is an opportunity to celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of Hispanic Americans and to promote inclusivity and unity in building a stronger nation.

Important role in natural resources

Hispanic Americans have played an important role in the conservation and management of natural resources in the United States. They have worked to protect and preserve the land, water, and wildlife of the country, and they have helped to develop policies and programs that promote sustainable resource use.

The Hispanic Special Emphasis Program was established by a Presidential Directive in 1970 as a Sixteen Point Program for Spanish Speaking Americans. It was created to ensure that the needs of Hispanic Americans were met in all aspects of the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) programs and services.

Supporting minority-serving colleges and universities to build their capacity in food and agriculture disciplines, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awards education grants to Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs)

Time to celebrate

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States. It is an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Hispanic Americans and to recognize their important role in shaping the country. By celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, we can promote inclusivity and unity and build a stronger nation.


24 Activities To Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (2023)

Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants (HSI) Program

Latinx Agricultural Network

National Hispanic Heritage Month website

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Celebrating Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is a very important holiday in the Jewish faith. In the Jewish faith, people celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the first and second days of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, as it marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. The holiday commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period that ends with Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashanah will begin at sunset on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, and continue through sundown on Sunday, Sept. 17.

In Israel, Rosh Hashanah is a public holiday, and many businesses and schools are closed. Families gather for festive meals, and many people attend synagogue services.

Customs, Symbols, and Traditions

There are many customs, symbols, and traditions associated with Rosh Hashanah. Some of them are:

  1. Preparing during the Hebrew month of Elul
  2. Festive dinner with family or friends before attending services at a synagogue that night and again the following day
  3. Attending services at a synagogue
  4. Blowing the shofar in the synagogue
  5. Eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey, pomegranates, and round challah bread

Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection, repentance, and renewal in the Jewish faith. It is a time to think about the past year and ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoing. The customs, symbols, and traditions connected to the holiday aid Jews in purifying and rejuvenating themselves spiritually for the upcoming year.

Resources to teach about Rosh Hashanah 

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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

On August 9 each year, people celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples to recognize their achievements and contributions to global issues such as environmental protection, raise awareness, and protect their rights. The United Nations General Assembly established the day in 1994, which marks the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982.

The theme for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is chosen each year by the United Nations, focusing on a specific aspect of Indigenous peoples’ rights, culture, or challenges. This year’s theme is “Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-determination.” This theme aims to focus on the role of Indigenous youth in promoting self-determination and contributing to the well-being of their communities.

The theme also underscores the need for intergenerational dialogue between youth and elders, as youth represent continuity and the future of Indigenous communities. By celebrating and supporting Indigenous youth as agents of change, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples aims to foster a better future for all Indigenous peoples.

The new generation of Indigenous advocates is mobilizing to change the narrative around Indigenous Peoples. They have become agents of societal change through social mobilization, using online platforms to showcase and celebrate their cultures, languages, and knowledge systems and to highlight injustices within their communities. By sharing their stories, Indigenous youth are building solidarity among other young people and raising awareness of Indigenous Peoples’ issues locally and globally.

Unfortunately, Indigenous peoples face significant challenges, including extreme poverty and limited access to education.

Poverty Among Indigenous Peoples

Globally, indigenous peoples are nearly three times more likely to be living in extreme poverty compared to non-indigenous people. In fact, 18.2% of indigenous people live on less than $1.90 a day, compared to 6.8% of the general population. Indigenous peoples make up approximately 5% of the world’s population but account for 15% of the poorest. In terms of education, 47% of all working Indigenous peoples have no education, compared to 17% of others.

UN News (Source)

Education Gap

This gap is even wider for women, as Indigenous women face education barriers based on their status and gender. Indigenous peoples tend to have less access to and poorer quality of education than other groups, and their education rarely incorporates curricula and teaching methods that recognize their communities’ histories, cultures, pedagogies, traditional languages, and traditional knowledge.

Ethnic and cultural discrimination at schools are major obstacles to equal access to education, causing poor performance and higher dropout rates among Indigenous students. Indigenous students frequently find that the state’s education promotes individualism and a competitive atmosphere rather than communal ways of life and cooperation. It does not teach them relevant survival and work skills suitable for Indigenous economies, and they often return to their communities with a formal education that is irrelevant or unsuitable for their needs.

Indigenous Women in Education

Indigenous women, in particular, face a triple-bind within educational leadership, as they work in a predominantly white environment, are women in a system that values patriarchal leadership, and are subject to judgment from all males, white males, and white women. Schools often recruit Indigenous women leaders to work mainly with Indigenous children and focus on Indigenous issues, which excludes them from the majority and undermines their knowledge, further marginalizing them.

Addressing the Issues

To address these issues, it is crucial to involve Indigenous peoples in developing education policies and systems, ensuring that their cultures, languages, and traditional knowledge are respected and incorporated into curricula and teaching methods. Additionally, mobilizing Indigenous women and girls and involving them in the educational process is necessary. We need to address gender barriers to education and improve opportunities for all Indigenous peoples.

There are several successful initiatives aimed at improving Indigenous education outcomes. These initiatives focus on early childhood education, culturally responsive teaching, community-based programs, and language preservation.

  1. Indigenous Early Childhood Education: The American Indian College Fund’s Ké’ Early Childhood Initiative partners with tribal colleges and universities to improve early childhood education programs and teacher education through family and community outreach, enhanced child developmental pedagogy, and engagement in national conversations about best practices.
  2. First Nations Development Institute: launched the Native Language Immersion Initiative to support new generations of Native American language speakers and help Native communities establish infrastructure and models for Native language immersion programs that others can replicate.
  3. Indigenous-Led Education Network (ILED): The ILED Network is a growing, collaborative network of organizations supporting education led by Indigenous peoples, aiming to make Indigenous communities more resilient for the future.

By observing the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, people around the world can help promote a more inclusive and sustainable future that respects and values the rights, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples.

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Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act #ADA

The ADA Anniversary is a special day celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act. It happens every year on July 26th. This day reminds us of our progress in giving rights and opportunities to people with disabilities.

The ADA has made a big difference in many lives by promoting fairness, and accessibility, and treating everyone equally. The anniversary is also a time to recognize that there’s still work to be done to make society more inclusive and remove barriers for people with disabilities. It’s a chance to honor the strength of individuals with disabilities and show our commitment to a fair and just society where everyone is valued and included.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is a law in the United States that helps protect the rights of people with disabilities. The ADA was founded in 1990 to ensure everyone with disabilities is treated equally in areas such as employment, education, transportation and public places. It promotes inclusivity and accessibility, contributing to a more equitable society for everyone, regardless of their abilities.

Disabilities in the United States

Sixty-one million adults in the US  live with a disability. It’s important to note that the number of adults living with a disability can vary depending on the definition and measurement used.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collects data from a variety of places to accurately measure the prevalence of various disabilities, including the Disability and Health Data System (DHDS) and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Sometimes, whole states are left out of the data, leaving the full picture incomplete. For example, Florida was unable to collect BRFSS data over enough months to meet the minimum requirements for inclusion in the 2021 annual aggregate data set; therefore, 2021 DHDS has no report on all DHDS indicators from Florida. (Source: Disability and Health Data System (DHDS)

Disabilities In Delaware

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 25% of Delawareans have a documented disability. Healthcare costs related to disabilities cost about $3.1 billian annually, or up to 34% of the state’s healthcare spending.

The University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies aims to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families. They achieve this through education, advocacy, service, and research. The center aims to empower and provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities, ensuring accessibility and inclusiveness so that everyone can actively engage in their communities and contribute to their enrichment.

Accessibility Island

By removing the mental barriers we create, could we remove the barriers to accessibility? Maybe flipping the script on disability and reasonable accommodations can lead to greater understanding.

View the video from to see things from another perspective.


  • Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) at the University of Delaware facilitates appropriate and reasonable accommodations to incoming and current UD students, faculty, and staff with disabilities,
  • The ADA National Network consists of 10 regional ADA Centers and an ADA Knowledge Translation Center. The regional ADA Centers are distributed throughout the United States to provide local assistance and foster implementation of the ADA. Find the ADA Center that serves your state by visiting this page: 
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IT-ATS launches 10-Day accessibility challenge for faculty

Maintaining accessibility is the responsibility of everyone involved in editing, designing, developing, procuring, managing, and approving digital content. The university is organizing a 10-Day Accessibility Challenge pilot to help individuals learn simple ways to make their courses accessible in Canvas.

This challenge launches with a kick-off meeting and the first challenge on Monday, July 24, and concludes on Friday, August 4.  Participants will meet again to reflect on the experience and to congratulate their efforts.  Meetings are optional and will be held in person and via Zoom. 

Faculty can register to participate in the challenge here.

Additional resources

  1. Digital Accessibility for Higher Education Solutions Trusted By Leading Organizations: This website provides solutions for digital accessibility in higher education.
  2. Higher Education Accessibility Online Resource Center: This online resource center provides examples of digital accessibility policies, legal requirements, and links to accessibility standards and procurement policies.
  3. Digital Accessibility for All Learners: The Office of Educational Technology is working to develop policies and supports that provide a platform for learners with disabilities to be a part of the conversation.
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