This Month in Human Rights
and Social Justice

The upcoming events and dates below are opportunities for all of us to recognize and remember those who speak out and take action to alleviate discrimination, promote tolerance, and achieve justice for victims of
social injustice.   




A Japanese-American family awaits an evacuation bus, 1942. 
May 1-31   Asian-Pacific American

                  Heritage Month

Like most commemorative months,
Asian-Pacific Heritage Month originated
as a congressional bill. On October 5, 1978, President Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration Asian Pacific Heritage Week.
In 1992, the designation of May as
Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
was signed into law.
    A rather broad term, Asian-Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent
and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Learn more.   



May 17  Massachusetts legalized same-sex

On May 17, 2004 Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
This groundbreaking law was the result of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that it was unconstitutional under the Massachusetts constitution to allow only heterosexual couples to marry.  

    Massachusetts became the sixth jurisdiction in the world (after the Netherlands, Belgium, Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec) to legalize same-sex marriage. Learn more. 



May 21  World Day for Cultural DiversityDOT2013
              for Dialogue and Development

Three-quarters of the world's major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development. To this end, the U.N. declared May 21st as World Day
for Cultural
Diversity for Dialogue and Development. 

    This year's campaign aims to build a world community committed to diversity with real, everyday-life gestures--
o combat stereotypes and to improve understanding. 

     One very small thing can become a global action if we all take part in it. Do ONE thing for diversity and inclusion on May 21st, like visiting an exhibition about a different culture or going to a place of worship different from your own.  Learn more.  



Salman Rushdie's Search for Moral Courage
Salman Rushdie's recent New York Times article reflects on what it means to change the way we see the world--something that the Salem Award Foundation strives for continually.
   In a world filled with acts of violence, it is easier to recognize physical bravery over moral courage. The value of moral courage seems to have suffered as a result. Rushdie helps us adjust our focus. Learn more.

Human Rights Crisis in Western Sahara  

The Robert F. Kennedy Center recently released a new report detailing grave human rights violations--including summary execution, enforced disappearance, torture, and arbitrary arrest against the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara. The United States has also taken historic action in drafting a human rights monitoring mandate for the UN's peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara. Learn more. 


Although the Salem Award Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) organization, is very fortunate to have the Mayor of Salem and the President of Salem State University as honorary co-chairs, we receive no financial support from them; our award and educational programs are funded by your contributions.



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