October: A Month of Diversified Colors and Causes
As October rolls in, I am basking in the warm colors of the fall foliage while awaiting the smell of brisk, cool Arctic air to herald this winter season. Yet, there’s much more than lovely leaves and crisp breezes stored up in the 31 days of this truly awareness-packed month.
What better way than to contemplate the various causes that we’ve associated with October than in list form? For those of you who are unaware, October is …
Hispanic Heritage Month
Domestic Violence Heritage Month
World Blindness Awareness Month
Dyslexia Awareness Month
Gay & Lesbian History Month
Global Diversity Awareness Month
National Reading Group Month
National Animal Safety and Protection Month
National Dental Hygiene Month
National Caramel Month
National Popcorn Poppin’ Month
National Liver Awareness Month
National AIDS Awareness Month
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
National Cookie Month
National Book Month, plus many more…
also---- don’t forget Columbus Day and the cream of the crop, Halloween.
Labeling has become a staple in our lives. Identification denotes recognition and thus existence. So, it is with much conviction that I promote such “awareness” promotions and programs. In order to reach out to everyone, advocacy is needed, and what better way to advocate a cause than to insert its name between the official book ends of “National” and “Month?”
Public awareness campaigns are usually geared towards health issues and diseases, with the fight against breast cancer topping the list. In a study conducted by the National Breast Cancer Coalition in 2007, one thousand women were asked what the greatest risk factor of breast cancer was. More than half stated family history, which is estimated to account for only 5-10% of most cancer cases. (The greatest risk lies in increasing age).
The surveyed women were also asked which diseases posed the biggest threats to women. Although heart disease was correctly identified by most women, they also placed breast cancer in the second position. As the National Center for Health Statistics points out, stroke, lung cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease and Alzhimer’s disease caused 45,000 plus deaths as opposed to 40,000 deaths due to breast cancer. Information can be misconstrued, misinterpreted and taken out of context. Thus, awareness programs help to de-fog our confused minds and set things straight.
Aside from disease awareness, heritage and pop-culture days are also avidly promoted. October not only stands for Hispanic Heritage, but also represents popcorn, caramel and cookies. Who wouldn’t want to praise the efforts of Cesar Chavez and Desi Arnaz while munching on the American staples of popcorn and cookies? Where else but in America can differences be set aside to produce harmonious atmospheres?
Our greatest challenges are our most rewarding opportunities. In order for everyone to get the message, we have to be vigilantly aware. Our world is constantly changing. From Hurricane Ike to melting ice-caps to suicide bombings, we are fighting the environment, natural disasters, human diseases and global politics. As John F. Kennedy once said, “If we can not end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."
In an age where trends are picked up and dropped on whim, I do hope the “Awareness” trend stays put for years to come.
- Diana Kuruvilla
Sources: Promotional Events Calendar, NY Times, Time Magazine