April showers spotlight alcoholism, autism, poetry, jazz and many more social justice, health and arts annual awareness initiatives. The light also shines awareness for the environment, sexual assault and child abuse. Designated days include Earth Day, World Health Day and Walking Day, to name just a few. Here’s a topline of April’s finest that are adjusted to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH – celebrates poetry’s vital place in our culture. Born out of inspiration by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), the Academy of American Poets founded National Poetry Month in 1996. It has become the largest literary celebration in the world with tens of millions of readers, schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, bloggers and poets celebrating the designated month. To join the celebration and for inspiration, visit the National Poetry Month’s ’30 Ways to Celebrate’ page, click here.
NATIONAL ALCOHOLISM MONTH – Established in 1987 by The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCAAD) to help reduce the stigma often associated with alcoholism. The objective is to encourage communities to reach out to the public each April with information about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive disease, genetically predisposed and fatal if untreated. However, people can and do recover. It is estimated that as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery!
“Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage’” is this year’s theme. April will be filled with local, state, and national events aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism — particularly among our youth — and the important role that parents can play in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives. For a complete event guide click here.
AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH – This nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination began by the Autism Society. As the nation’s leading grassroots organization, they raise awareness and advocate for persons with ASD so that they, too, have the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life. Each year, tens of thousands face an autism diagnosis.
The focus is to go beyond simply promoting autism awareness to encouraging friends and collaborators to become partners in movement toward acceptance and appreciation — inclusion in schools and communities that results in true appreciation of the unique aspects of all people. One step closer to a society where those with ASDs are truly valued for their unique talents and gifts.
April 2nd is World Autism Day. This is the signature campaign of Autism Speaks. They are joined every year by the international autism community and recognize the UN-sanctioned day and World Autism Month by encouraging everyone and every entity to ‘light blue’ in support of people living with autism. Thousands of iconic landmarks and buildings join hundreds of thousands of homes and communities around the world to “light blue”.
SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH (SAAM) – this initiative raises public awareness about sexual violence and educates communities on how to prevent it. The 2020 Theme continues the SAAM campaign “I Ask” for the second year, but with a twist in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is highlighting how to practice consent online and in everyday life. This year’s campaign is raising awareness that consent is essential in all interactions, whether face-to-face or virtually.
JAZZ APPRECIATION MONTH (“JAM”) – was created at the National Museum of American History in 2001 to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April. JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.
Women in JAZZ. This year, JAM celebrates the dynamic impact of the often-overlooked contributions that women have made to jazz, both on and off the stage. As performers and conductors, educators, and producers and directors of jazz festivals, women have made their mark but have continued to struggle for recognition on par with their male counterparts..
Whether you fancy the arts, health or social issues, April 2020 offers opportunities in all sectors to help ignite awareness and carry on the Spark.
Stay Safe, Stay Well, Stay Home, practice Social Distancing, Stop the Spread to Crush The Curve.
*This post has been updated for 2020.