This section details the various Heritage Months that are celebrated at Wofford College: LatinX Heritage Month, LGBTQIA+ History Month, Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month, religious celebrations, Black Heritage Month (BHM), Womxn’s History Month (WHM) and Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM).
In recognition of each of these heritage months celebrations, ODI hosts a series of panels, talks and events throughout the academic year. We are inclusive of all racial, cultural, ethnic, gender and sexual identities and encourage allies to participate in the planning, execution and assessment of all ODI programs and events. If you would like to submit a program idea for ODI to collaborate with your office, department or organization during any of the listed heritage months, please complete the form below.
ODI recognizes that celebrating and uplifting the heritage and history of the LatinX, LGBTQIA+, indigenous peoples, religious minorities, African Diaspora, Womxn, Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities is not limited to a single month. As a result, ODI plans and organizes events in response to contemporary events, student issues and needs. Additionally, ODI focuses on highlighting intersectionality and cultivating allyship among the student body.
LatinX Heritage Month
Background: LatinX Heritage Month, or Hispanic Heritage Month, which is the federally recognized designation, honors the enduring contributions and importance of LatinX Americans to the U.S. and celebrates the many heritages and cultures of Americans from or with ancestors from Mexico, the Caribbean, Spain and Central and South America. Wofford College honors the culturally preferred term of LatinX Heritage Month. The term “Latinx” relates to people of Latin American origin or descent and is used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina, to explicitly include transgender individuals.
Hispanic Heritage Month first began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. In 1988, President Ronald Regan expanded the celebration to cover a 30-day period and it now is federally recognized from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Mid-September was chosen because it is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Also, Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30-day period.
LGBTQIA+ History Month
LGBTQIA+ History Month celebrates and acknowledges the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and pansexual individuals in creating a more equal society. Some argue that the “a” in LGBTQIA+ also includes allies, which can be defined as individuals who do not identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community yet supports and advocates for the community. An ally also can be a member of the LGBTQIA+ community who advocates for another member in the community who identifies differently from them.
Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school history teacher, created LGBT History Month in 1994. October was chosen as LGBT History Month due to National Coming Out Day being recognized on Oct. 11, the anniversary of the first LGBT March on Washington, D.C., on Oct. 14, 1979; Sprit Day on Oct. 20; Ally Week and the anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder on Oct. 12, which resulted in Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Wofford also recognizes and celebrates the LGBTQIA+ month during October to intentionally include and increase the visibility of all members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution to designate November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Since then, similar proclamations have passed to recognize November as National American Indian Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month and others. In an effort to recognize the rich, diverse cultures, traditions and histories of indigenous peoples while also examining contemporary issues that impact the community, ODI coordinates educational programming focused on Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month each November. ODI also welcomes and invites student, faculty and staff who identify as first peoples, indigenous, native, and/or first citizens to lead and coordinate events of interest during all heritage months, especially Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month.
As a Methodist institution, Wofford College recognizes and values the rich, thriving interfaith community on campus. ODI works closely with faculty, students and departments, including the Halligan Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, to support students’ diverse spiritual needs while also cultivating a climate of understanding, respect and humility. To achieve that goal, ODI hosts a series of religious observance programs, events and initiatives to support students, faculty and staff.
Black Heritage Month
In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week to highlight the progress of individuals of African descent from the Civil War to current times. February was initially identified to celebrate Negro History Week to recognize the importance of two individuals who had contributed to the progress of African Americans, Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln, who both were born in February.
Currently, Black History Month is no longer limited to a single-week celebration but is instead celebrated at Wofford over the entire month of February to acknowledge the progress of members of the entire African diaspora, but also to celebrate the achievements, accomplishments and struggles of that community and analyze contemporary issues and societal structures that impacts the black community.
Womxn’s History Month
The term “womxn” is an alternative term for the English language word “women.” This alternative term allows women to define themselves outside of the context of being linked to men. Additionally, the term also is used to recognize that there are different ways to be a womxn, which explicitly includes being a transgender womxn. Except in reference to official departments, programs, offices, official national and international programs, ODI uses the term womxn to promote a culture of inclusion.
Womxn’s History Month was first celebrated in Santa Rosa, California, in 1978. The movement for a national celebration of womxn’s history quickly spread from one end of the country to the other when Sarah Lawrence College’s Women’s History Institute celebrated Womxn’s History Month in 1979. By 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation recognizing the week of International Women’s Day, March 8, as National Womxn’s History Week. International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1900s. March 8 became the official date for International Women’s Day in recognition of a strike for “bread and peace” carried out by Russian women in the days leading up to the Russian Revolution. Soon after Carter’s proclamation, the movement for a monthlong celebration caused Congress to recognize March as Womxn’s History Month in perpetuity.
Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
In an effort to increase visibility, bring broader awareness of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander community and its rich history to campus, ODI celebrates Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month during April, a month before the federally recognized national Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. ODI collaborates with members of the Wofford community and larger Spartanburg community to celebrate the culture, investigate issues that have and continue to impact the community and showcase talents of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Americans.