A Diversity Message from Neil Meltzer, President and CEO, and Dr. Sybil Pentsil, Chief Diversity Officer – February 2024

February 5, 2024 in Blog Posts

Happy February! Thank you to all our team members for everything you do every day to make LifeBridge Health a safe and welcoming place for all. We are a diverse team that celebrates our individual uniqueness while working collaboratively to care for patients, communities and each other. Below, learn about some of February's observances and how you can continue to make a difference in our community.

February is Black History Month
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.

February is American Heart Month
February is American Heart Month, a time to pay special attention to understanding, preventing and treating heart disease – the leading cause of death in the nation.

National Freedom Day (2/01)
National Freedom Day is a day that commemorates President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the joint resolution that established the Constitution’s 13th Amendment abolishing slavery in the United States. It serves as a reminder of the fundamental principles of freedom, liberty and human rights that are the foundation of the United States. This day is an occasion to reflect on the progress made in achieving civil rights and to reaffirm the commitment to eliminating all forms of oppression and discrimination.

Rosa Parks Day (2/04)
Rosa Parks Day honors the American Civil Rights hero on Dec. 1, the day she refused to give up her seat for a white passenger while riding a Montgomery, Alabama city bus. In some states it’s also celebrated on Feb. 4, her birthday, or the first Monday after her birthday – Feb. 5. Rosa Parks Day promotes equal opportunities, civil rights, and fairness across communities in the U.S.

Safer Internet Day (2/06)
Safer Internet Day takes place in February of each year to raise awareness of a safer and better internet for all, and especially for children and young people. Safer Internet Day is an international education and awareness-raising effort, celebrated in over 100 countries. In the United States, it’s a day to bring communities together to discuss challenges families face navigating the digital world, and empowers them to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.

Chinese New Year (2/10)
Lunar New Year, often called the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year, is one of the most important holidays in China and Chinese communities around the world. Tied to the lunar calendar, the holiday began as a time for feasting and to honor household and heavenly deities, as well as ancestors. The two-week celebration includes family and friends, feasting and fireworks, parties and parades.

International Day of Women & Girls in Science (2/11)
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated on Feb. 11. This Day is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. This day is intended to promote the full and equal access in fields like Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

International Epilepsy Day (2/12)
International Epilepsy Day, celebrated each year on the second Monday in Feb., is an opportunity to raise awareness of epilepsy, what it is, how it can be treated and what is needed to bring treatment to all people who need it. Started in 2015 and organized by the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), the day provides a platform for people with epilepsy to share their experiences and stories with a global audience.

Mardi Gras (2/13)
Mardi Gras is a day of feasting and celebration that comes just before the sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season in the Christian faith. The holiday is celebrated around the world, but in the U.S., it's most extravagantly done in Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Popular festivities and traditions include attending parades and masked balls, eating king cake and general feasting and drinking.

Ash Wednesday (2/14)
Ash Wednesday always falls on the Wednesday six and a half weeks before Easter, which Christians around the world believe is the day that Jesus Christ was resurrected. The origins of Lent trace to 325 CE, when it was more commonly used as a preparation phase for baptisms. The holiday’s length is an homage to Jesus Christ’s 40-day fast as he traveled through the wilderness after being baptized and before he began his ministry. This period is considered by Christians to be God’s test of Jesus’s spirituality and ability to withstand temptation. The ash cross marking observers’ foreheads is meant to represent mortality and penance for their sins.

Valentine’s Day (2/14)
Valentine’s Day occurs every Feb. 14. Across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. Although the origins of Valentine’s Day are murky, ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, a spring festival, on the fifteenth of February. The holiday was eventually moved to the fourteenth of February—the saint day associated with several early Christian martyrs named Valentine.

Nirvana Day (2/15)
Nirvana Day is an annual Buddhist festival that remembers the death of the Buddha when he reached Nirvana at the age of 80. Nirvana is believed to be the end of the cycle of death and rebirth. Buddhism teaches that Nirvana is reached when all want and suffering is gone. On Nirvana Day, Buddhists think about their lives and how they can gain the perfect peace of Nirvana. Buddhists may celebrate Nirvana Day by meditating or by going to Buddhist temples or monasteries. In monasteries, Nirvana Day is treated as a social occasion. Food is prepared, and some people bring presents such as money, household goods or clothes.

International Childhood Cancer Day (2/15)
International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is a global collaborative campaign that takes place every year on Feb. 15 to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer, the survivors and their families. ICCD spotlights the need for more equitable access to treatment and care for all children with cancer, everywhere.

World Day of Social Justice (2/20)
As declared by the United Nations General Assembly, Feb. 20 is annually celebrated as the World Day of Social Justice. The day is meant to highlight and honor the importance of social justice for all. The celebration reflects on fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles.

Calls to Action
REFLECT: Think about Black History Month. Are there injustices in your sphere of influence?
RECOGNIZE: Acknowledge any practices that disadvantage some people but not others.
RESPOND: Take action to address injustice, gain skills to address inequity and learn about special holidays and observances that are important to fellow team members.