In rushed the black and orange and out went the pink when October 31st marked the last day of the 25th annual National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). The term “Awareness Month” is used all over the internet, in the news and in conversations. It’s applied to many more than 12 causes that our calendar seemingly would allow.
Besides NBCAM, October is set aside for National Domestic Violence Month, National AIDS Awareness Month, Vegetarian Awareness Month and many more. This month, we should currently be celebrating or commemorating Diabetes, Epilepsy, Aviation History, Alzheimer’s disease and Eating Disorders, among numerous other things. But why should there be one month set aside to specifically honor or remember something so vital to our society’s history or our culture’s present? Why focus on black history in the shortest month of the year?
Black History Month has been celebrated in February since its beginning in 1926. This month was chosen due to the significance of Februaries in the past. In February of 1870, the 15th Amendment was passed, allowing blacks the right to vote. That same February, the first black U.S. senator took oath in office. This month also marks the birthdays for big names in black history such as W.E.B DeBoius and Rosa Parks.
When the awareness month is set aside for something less concrete, showing honor and respect isn’t as simple as acknowledging the people who led the nation in peaceful protests to overcome oppression.
Take the previous month that was full of pink, for example. College and professional football teams chose to show their support for NBCAM by replacing their team-colored cleats and chinstraps with pink ones, and NFL officials refereed with pink whistles.
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation was founded in 1993. Since then, we’ve been shown numerous ways we as individuals can support the cause of research for the cure. For the past several years, Yoplait yogurt has featured pink lids on their products with the goal of “Save Lids to Save Lives.” Yoplait donates ten cents to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for every pink lid sent in.
These causes are important, and the months reserved to commemorate them push their significance to the front of our minds. They act as reminders to live proactively in regard to these causes—no matter what month it is.