Messages of Inclusion

In periodic messages, Iowa State vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion Sharon Perry Fantini shares insights to help the university community better understand the significance of events, issues or observances happening locally and globally.

As we acknowledge annual holidays and cultural heritage observances, messages from the previous year will be moved to the Messages of Inclusion Archive.

George Washington Carver Day 2023

February 1, 2023

George Washington Carver Day is celebrated annually in Iowa on February 1. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a proclamation in June 2022 designating the occasion, and the first George Washington Carver Day will be held on February 1, 2023. His exact date of birth unknown, Carver was born in Missouri prior to the abolishment of slavery in 1865. He came to Iowa State in 1891 and was the first Black student and the first Black faculty member at the university.

Research Questions 

  • When did Iowa State posthumously award Carver a doctorate of humane letters?
  • What did Carver encourage farmers to do to improve depleted soil?
  • What was the first college Carver attended in Iowa?
  • Which notable Iowans served as the co-leaders of a Carver recognition initiative that led to the proclamation of George Washington Carver Day?


Recent Messages

Black History Month 2023

February 1, 2023

February is Black History Month, an annual observance of Black history, culture, and achievements. Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, began in the United States as Negro History Week in 1926 and evolved into a month-long celebration in the 1960s before being officially acknowledged in 1976.

Research Questions 

  • The first Negro History Week coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. What is the importance of these two leaders in Black history?
  • What other countries celebrate Black History Month?
  • Why was Black Resistance chosen as the 2023 theme for Black History Month?
  • Why did Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Negro History Week, think it was important to designate a specific occasion to study Black history?


Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2023

January 16, 2023

Observed annually on the third Monday of January, Martin Luther King Jr. Day marks the birthday of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. King, who was born on January 15, 1929, is considered one of the greatest advocates and leaders of nonviolent resistance in history. His contributions and leadership of the civil rights movement are studied and taught around the world, and his lessons and achievements are increasingly relevant as marginalized groups in the United States and beyond strive for equality. 

Research Questions 

  • What teachings inspired King’s nonviolent resistance philosophy? 
  • How many non-presidents have national holidays dedicated to their legacy? 
  • When did Martin Luther King Jr. Win the Nobel Peace Prize? 
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day is one of two national days of service officially designated by the government. What is the other day? 


Human Rights Day 2022

December 10, 2022 

December 10 is Human Rights Day, commemorating the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which has been translated into over 500 languages, declares the inalienable rights of all people regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. 

Research Questions 

  • Which former First Lady played an important role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? 
  • Which World War preceded the creation of the United Nations? 
  • 2023 marks what milestone anniversary of Human Rights Day? 
  • Who is credited with changing "All men are born free and equal" to "All human beings are born free and equal" in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? 


Veterans Day 2022

November 11, 2022

Observed annually on November 11, Veterans Day honors military veterans in the U.S. Armed Forces. Though both holidays honor military personnel, Veterans Day differs from Memorial Day in that it acknowledges the service of all military veterans while Memorial Day honors those who died while serving. 

Research Questions 

  • What was Veterans Day originally known as? 
  • Which World War ended on what is now known as Veterans Day? 
  • Why was November 11 selected for Veterans Day? 
  • Who was President of the United States in 1919 when what is now Veterans Day was first declared? 


Native American Heritage Month 2022 

November 1, 2022

Native American Heritage Month, celebrated in November, honors the culture and history of Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples. Legislation authored by Jerry Chris Elliot High Eagle, one of the first Native Americans to work at NASA, helped establish Native American Awareness Week in 1976 before November was declared as Native American Heritage Month in 1990.

Research Questions  

  • Which U.S. President declared November as Native American Heritage Month in 1990?
  • Which Tribal Nations have land in the state of Iowa today?
  • When was Jerry Chris Elliot High Eagle awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom?
  • Which state was the first to declare an American Indian Day in 1916?

Get Involved 

The American Indian Studies (AIS) program is the oldest ethnic studies program at Iowa State University. The AIS program offers a minor in American Indian Studies and a major through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences interdisciplinary major program. Learn more on their website.


National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October 19, 2022

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a recognition of the contributions of employees with disabilities to the United States workforce and an occasion to reaffirm the commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens. Originally acknowledged during the first week of the month, Congress declared October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month in 1988. 

Accommodations at Iowa State 

Research Questions 

  • Before it became known as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, what was the name of the original observational week? 
  • What year did the Rehabilitation Act prohibit public institutions that receive federal funds from discriminating on the premise of disability? 
  • How many disabled Americans are employed as of 2022? 
  • When did President Bush sign the Americans with Disabilities Act? 


LGBTQ+ History Month

October 11, 2022

October is LGBTQ+ History Month. Though Pride Month in June also recognizes the LGBTQ+ community, October was selected for LGBTQ+ History Month to provide an opportunity to explore the history of the LGBTQ+ community during the academic year. Additionally, October 11 is National Coming Out Day, a day to decrease the stigma around coming out and celebrate LGBTQ+ identities. 

Research Questions 

  • What year was the first LGBTQ+ History Month observed? 
  • When was the first National Coming Out Day? 
  • In addition to being during the academic year, why was October selected as LGBTQ+ History Month? 
  • How is LGBTQ+ History Month different from LGBTQ+ Pride Month? 

Get Involved 

The LGBTQA+ faculty staff association was created for employees and graduate students who are members or supporters of the LGBTQA+ community at ISU. Check out their newsletter or Facebook and visit the Office of DEI’s website for more information on faculty staff associations. 


Indigenous Peoples' Day

October 10, 2022 

Celebrated on the second Monday of October, Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors Native Americans and Indigenous People in the United States and around the world. Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples resided in the Americas long before colonization, including thousands of years in what is now known as Iowa. Indigenous Peoples’ Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the history, culture, and impact that Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples have had in our local communities and beyond. 

Research Questions 

  • What year was a proposal for Indigenous Peoples’ Day presented at the United Nations? 
  • When did Iowa celebrate its first Indigenous Peoples’ Day? 
  • Who was the first U.S. President to issue a proclamation for Indigenous Peoples Day? 
  • Historically in the United States, the second Monday in October has been marked for Columbus Day. Why have a growing number of people, businesses, and states chosen to adopt Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead? 


Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15, 2022

A message from Dr. Sharon Perry Fantini, office of diversity, equity and inclusion, and Yamille Perez and Loerna Dorado-Robles, co-chairs of Colegas

Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 to October 15. An annual celebration in the United States, this month recognizes the independence days of several Latin American countries that fall within this time frame and commemorates the history, culture, and achievements of the Hispanic and Latin American communities.

Research Questions

  • Hispanic Heritage Month began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. What led to the creation of Hispanic Heritage Week? When did Hispanic Heritage Week become Hispanic Heritage Month?
  • In the 2020 Census, how many people identified as Hispanic or Latino/a in the United States? How many live in Iowa? 
  • Hispanic and Latino/a are often used interchangeably but represent different communities. What is the difference between these terms?
  • Latinx is a gender-neutral alternative for Latino/a. What is the story behind this word? 

Get Involved 

Colegas is Iowa State’s Hispanic and Latinx faculty staff association. To learn more about Colegas, sign up for their newsletter, follow the ISU Colegas page on Facebook, and check out their Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration on October 4


About Juneteeth

June 1, 2022

Please join us in recognizing, celebrating and honoring Juneteenth during the month of June.

Aligning with Iowa State University’s Principles of Community, we encourage you to learn more about Juneteenth and share your knowledge with others. Please access the Iowa State University Library Juneteenth Guide to aid in your exploration, and consider these four questions to expand your understanding of this annual commemoration:

  • What is Juneteenth short for and what was it originally called?
  • Why did it take more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation for all slaves to be freed?
  • What state became the first to make Juneteenth an official holiday and when?
  • What are some Juneteenth traditions?

June is Pride Month

June 1, 2022

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month. This annual month-long celebration honors the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. The purpose is to commemorate and recognize the historical impact of LGBTQ individuals and the ongoing pursuit for civil rights and equal justice under the law.

Explore the following resources to learn more:

Now test your knowledge by answering these questions:

  1. The first Pride march was held in what year?
  2. Why is the rainbow flag a symbol of LGBTQ pride?
  3. When did The Center open at Iowa State University and what is its mission?

Thank you for doing your part to expand your knowledge and help make our campus and community a more welcoming and inclusive place.


April 28, 2022

Please join us in recognizing, celebrating, and honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI) during the month of May.

Did you know …

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed substantially to countless facets of culture and society, including science and medicine, literature and art, government and politics, and law. Kamala Harris became the first Asian American Vice President of the United States in 2021. In the film industry, AAPI people, stories, and traditions have become more visible. Bong Joon Ho, South Korean director, won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2019 with Parasite. In 2021, Marvel debuted the first Asian superhero in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

As we strive to be the best land-grant university for having a welcoming and inclusive campus, we challenge you to expand your knowledge by exploring the following:

  • What is the origin of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month?
  • Which U.S. President signed the first presidential proclamation?
  • Why is the date of AAPI Heritage month significant?
  • When did the character of Shang-Chi make his comic-book debut?

You may use the following links to aid in your exploration:

Join the celebration at Iowa State University
AAPI Heritage Month Celebration
Sun Room in the Memorial Union
May 7, 2022, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Buffet included.
Please register (free) online at

Remote video URL

The inaugural Ames Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month Celebration was held May 7 in the Memorial Union. Video courtesy of the event steering committee.

Women's History Month

March 1, 2022

Please join us in recognizing and celebrating Women’s History Month during the month of March. We honor the accomplishments and reflect on the trailblazing women who have shaped and continue to shape our culture and society.  

As we strive to be a leading land-grant university for having a welcoming and inclusive campus, we challenge you to expand your knowledge of women’s history by considering the following: 

  • What is the origin of Women’s History Month? 
  • Which U.S. President signed the first presidential proclamation? 
  • Can you identify at least three women who have contributed to developments in science and technology? 
  • How many years has the Library of Congress been gathering materials to tell the stories of women? 

You may use the following links to aid in your exploration: 

Did you know … Iowa State University offers the following: 

  • Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity aims to ensure that people of all genders have access to what they need to be successful as well as their need for community.
  • University Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equity is devoted to the mission to advance gender equity and welcomes membership from the campus community.
  • Cardinal Women* provides growth opportunity specifically for women who are Iowa State University Faculty and Staff. Participants engage in discussions designed to foster leadership development, goal orientation and purpose in their personal and professional spheres.
  • SISTER (Supporting Inclusive Spaces Through Experiences and Recognition) seeks to create an inclusive, supportive space for faculty and staff who identify as women of color (WOC) through a sister circle framework.
  • The Womxn of Colour Network Retreat is a signature program presented by the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity and The Womxn of Colour Network student organization with generous support lent by campus volunteers as part of the Planning Committee.
  • ISU ADVANCE has evolved from a focus on women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to a subsequent emphasis on underrepresented faculty, and is now an institutionalized program with broad impact across the Iowa State community.
  • Program for Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) seeks to advance gender equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) by inspiring, supporting, and empowering current and future students to persist and thrive in their chosen STEM communities.
  • Women's and Gender Studies Program focuses on the study of issues and scholarship relevant to women and gender, challenges existing systems of knowledge, and forges new scholarship based on the centrality of gender as a category of analysis.
  • Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics focuses on programs that blend resources and scholarship of the academic environment with the experiences of practitioners in fields important to the political process.

This is not an exhaustive list. We welcome the opportunity to learn more about other campus units and organizations supporting women. Please email your ideas, comments and questions to