JUNE 2014: This month, groups of Americans will celebrate Caribbean Americans, African-American music, Gay Pride—and the adoption of cats. Among the business groups claiming June as a promotional month is the American dairy industry. Back in 1937, dairy farmers declared June National Milk Month and later the campaign expanded into National Dairy Month. Today, dairy-free folks also celebrate Dairy Alternatives Month in June. Among other food industries claiming June are producers of iced tea, seafood—and okra! Throughout June, you’ll also see news about National Fireworks Safety Month, an important theme as Americans prepare for their July 4 celebrations.
Here are a few of the bigger month-long celebrations …
Caribbean-American Heritage Month
Over the past three centuries, millions of men and women have moved to what is now the United States from the 700 islands known as the Caribbean. In 2006, the U.S. Congress called for an annual season honoring this group. Each year, the White House issues a proclamation designating June as Caribbean-American Heritage Month. This year, President Obama declared: “Caribbean Americans have contributed to every aspect of our society—from science and medicine to business and the arts.”
AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSIC APPRECIATION MONTH
Like the Caribbean-themed campaign, African-American musicians urged officials in Washington D.C. to honor their contribution to our nation’s culture. They succeeded in 1979, when President Jimmy Carter held a White House reception and named “Black Music Month.” Later, the idea was renamed, the White House remains involved—and plans are underway to have an annual June emphasis on music at the still-under-development Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. That museum is expected to open in 2015.
LGBT PRIDE MONTH
The late gay-rights activist and feminist Brenda Howard is credited with touching off the movement that led to today’s month-long series of LGBT Pride events. She helped to organize the first annual march to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in late June of 1969. Only two presidents have made annual declarations of this special month: Bill Clinton once and Barack Obama in each recent year. This year, the White House declaration says in part: “As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect—our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.”