APRIL themes: Autism, Jazz, Poetry, Arab Americans and more

APRIL 2014: Americans will hear a lot this month about everything from jazz, poetry, Arab Americans, frogs and kites—to foods including Brussel sprouts and cabbage. Here are just some of the dozens of special month-long themes …

AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH

Autism Society logo for April awareness monthThe Autism Society offers a resource page for the April observance, including the recommendation that supportive men and women display the puzzle-piece autism-awareness logo. The Society says: “The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most recognized symbol of the autism community in the world. Autism prevalence is now 1 in every 88 children in America. Show your support for people with autism by wearing the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon—as a pin on your shirt, a magnet on your car, a badge on your blog, or even your Facebook profile picture—and educate folks on the potential of people with autism!”

JAZZ APPRECIATION MONTH

The coolest news from Washington D.C., this April, is that the Smithsonian is kicking off Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) by receiving jazz legend John Coltrane’s “Selmer Mark VI tenor saxophone, made in Paris about 1965, the year that A Love Supreme was released. The saxophone is one of three principal saxophones Coltrane played and will be on view in the Smithsonian’s American Stories exhibition.” (Unfortunately, the newly donated sax won’t make it onto public display until June.) Check news outlets in your part of the U.S. for special jazz programs this month. Look for events labeled with the appropriate acronym “JAM.” Plus, you may want to join the several thousand people who already have “liked” the Facebook page for Jazz Appreciation Month, a page that includes some photos of Contrane’s sax.

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

Nearly two decades ago, in 1996, The Academy of American Poets introduced National Poetry Month. The group was founded in 1934 and now gives away some of the most sought-after awards in poetry each year. The Wikipedia entry for the special month points out some of the past observances, including: the Empire State Building turning on blue lights in honor of the month, special White House programs and special distributions of poetry books. Look for regional events in our area through schools, libraries and bookstores. Here is the official 2014 National Poetry Month page, including a copy of this year’s poster, at the Academy site.

ARAB AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

Relatively new in the long list of month-long themes is Arab American Heritage Month. Check schedules in your region for schools, libraries and community groups that may be scheduling programs. If you are coming to Michigan, visit the Arab American National Museum.

The following programs are just a handful of the many April themes promoted in various parts of the U.S.: Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Holy Humor Month, National Frog Month, National Kite Month—and many foods are honored, including Brussel Sprouts and Cabbage Month.

(Originally published at readthespirit.com, an on line magazine covering religion, spirituality, values and interfaith and cross-cultural issues.)

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