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by Dina Estelle Williams

With its crispness, coolness, and colorfulness, October presents an exciting month. Its precious fiery gemstone, opal, is symbolic of faithfulness and confidence. Besides Columbus Day and “Mystery Night” (Halloween Eve), numerous national events and awareness issues exist during the tenth month. Please note: Despite extensive effort to locate the origin, the date a “holiday” was created was not always discovered. Nevertheless, websites are included for your reference.

Feel free to comment on these 12 “holidays” of October, add one or two, AND pass it on. Have fun as you elevate, rejuvenate and celebrate October!

1. AIDS Awareness Month

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared October to be National AIDS Awareness Month in an attempt to help educate the American public and prevent the spread of AIDS and HIV.

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/

2. Black Movies Month

Black Movie Month (BMM) is an online campaign to rally global audiences in support of Black Cinema. During October, visit blackmoviemonth.com to participate in trivia contests, find recommendations on film-related articles and books, chat live; and learn about upcoming theatrical, DVD and digital releases. BMM is sponsored by Film Life, Inc. and Black Enterprise Magazine is the official media partner.

http://www.blackmoviemonth.com

3. Book Month

The National Book Foundation encourages all to “book a trip this October” and “embark on the journey of a lifetime, travel to exotic places, mythical lands and experience adventure beyond imagination. Or escape to another era altogether. All without luggage, tickets, a passport or leaving home. All you need is an open mind. And an open book.”

http://www.nationalbook.org/nbmcelebrate.html

4. Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization is a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services.

http://www.nbcam.org/

5. Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

In support of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is providing resources for families, teens, educators, clinicians, mental health professionals, and law enforcement personnel on how to recognize, deal with, and prevent bullying.

http://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/bullying-prevention-awareness-month

6. Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month

The Caffeine Awareness Association, a non-profit organization, is committed to the physical, mental, and emotional wellness of the public whose lives have been affected by their misuse of, or dependency on caffeine. Our mission is to provide objective, evidence-based information and advice to help reduce the health, social, and economic harm associated with caffeine abuse and addiction.

http://www.caffeineawareness.org/

7. Clergy Appreciation Month

Focus on the Family named and began emphasizing Clergy Appreciation Month in 1994, reminding congregations that it was biblical and proper to honor their pastoral staffs and pastoral families throughout the year, but suggesting that they set aside the month of October for a special tangible tribute. CAM is a time to honor pastors and pastoral families for their hard work, sacrificial dedication and multiple blessings they provide to their church and community.

http://www.parsonage.org/cam/

8. Crime Prevention Month

In 1984, the National Crime Prevention Council designated October Crime Prevention Month. Every year since then, government agencies, civic groups, schools, businesses, and youth organizations have reached out to educate the public, showcase their accomplishments, and explore new partnerships during this special month.

http://www.ncpc.org/programs/crime-prevention-month

9. Cyber Security Awareness Month

Now in its seventh year, National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is one of the key initiatives for the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a multi-faceted effort to disseminate security messages and information through grassroots, traditional and social media channels.

http://www.staysafeonline.org/

10. Dental Hygiene Month

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association is again partnering with Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, manufacturer of Orbit gum, to celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month by providing even more focus on consumer information about oral disease prevention and focusing on community service and the day-to-day efforts of dental hygienists nationwide.

http://www.adha.org/ndhm/index.html

11. Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989 the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

http://dvam.vawnet.org/about/index.php

LOVE (Leave Out Violence Everyday) is a monthly domestic violence community outreach project held in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Seminars are hosted by Sisters4Sisters, Inc. Visit their website at Sisters4Sisters.com.

12. Vegetarian Month

Try avoiding meat in October. Some food for thought and reasons to chew follow. A vegetarian diet reduces the risk for chronic degenerative diseases, including obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, certain cancers (colon, breast, prostate, lung), and diabetes. Besides sparing animals, studies have shown vegetarians are more energetic, healthier, eat less toxic chemicals, and have stronger bones. And since October is also “Eat Better Eat Together Month” and “Chili Month,” perhaps prepare some meatless chili and enjoy it with your loved ones.

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/

Again, October is an exciting month. So be sure to smile; enjoy being bald; appreciate your boss; celebrate Black poets; send your Mother-in-Law a gift (or at least a card); and engage in an AOK (Act of Kindness).  Here are the  dates to do so:  5 – World Smile Day; 14 – Be Bald and Free Day; 16 – Boss’s Day; 17 – Black Poetry Day; 23 – Mother in Law Day; and 27 – Make a Difference Day.