Our Culture Is Diversity, October 17 2023

October 17, 2022 (every third Monday in October) is Multicultural Diversity Day, a national day created by Cleorah Scruggs. Cleorah Scruggs, who began teaching social studies in Flint, Michigan, in 1970, wanted to bring a focus to diversity in her classroom, and then had the idea that every school in Michigan should have a diversity program. Her idea was approved by the Michigan Education Association (MEA), and she then took it to the National Education Association (NEA).

In 1993, the Representative Assembly of the NEA adopted it nationwide, to “increase awareness of the tremendous need to celebrate our diversity collectively.” With this, Multicultural Diversity Day was born. The day is observed by educators, who focus special attention on multiculturalism and diversity in their classrooms during it.

For more than a decade, educators have celebrated National Multicultural Diversity Day (NMDD) on the third Monday in October. Created by Cleorah Scruggs, a fourth-grade teacher in Flint, Michigan, the day was adopted as a national event by the 1993 Representative Assembly to “increase awareness of the tremendous need to celebrate our diversity collectively.”

You can get involved just by being creative. Start by sharing cultural information with your class about yourself. Introduce students to multicultural issues by inviting a local expert to talk about diversity. Sing songs that celebrate diversity. Ask students to bring in items or food representative of their ethnic heritage to share with classmates. Share with students that diversity is a core democratic value and that we should respect all people. Diversity means freedom and justice for all of us, not just some of us.

Diversity can be defined as the sum of ways people are both different and alike. It includes many facets, such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, language, culture, mental and physical ability, class, and immigration status. According to the NEA, diversity enriches everyone and its many components help form the fabric of society. Acceptance of diversity is a part of social justice. The NEA has said that education should play a role in fostering values of acceptance and appreciation of individuals in diverse populations, and they believe that curricula, observances, and programs focused on diversity are important.

Students and educators have countless opportunities to explore diversity, which helps young people prepare for an interconnected, global society in the twenty-first century. But, there are also many challenges related to diversity that must be faced in education, such as achievement gaps between students of diverse backgrounds, racial segregation, bullying of LGBTQ and other students, and educational disparities based on class. On Multicultural Diversity Day, diversity is examined and embraced, with the goal of building a better future for humankind.

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