Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day (actually celebrated on September 16). In fact, in Mexico itself Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday outside of the state of Puebla. However, this holiday is observed in a big way in the United States, particularly in states with high Mexican-American populations, such as California, Arizona and Texas. More and more Canadians are celebrating Cinco de Mayo as well, including those with Mexican roots and those without. Just as you don’t have to have Irish heritage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you don’t have to have Mexican heritage to join in on the fun of Cinco de Mayo!
Also known as Yom HaShoah in Hebrew, this day is observed in Israel and in local communities throughout the Jewish Diaspora. It is a secular holiday, separate from the holy days of mourning in the religious calendar of Judaism.
More than 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust.
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William Shakespeare, arguably the greatest writer in the English language, was born on this day in 1564. Maybe. We are not sure. In fact, there is much we don’t know about Shakespeare. Some don’t think that he wrote the plays that are attributed to him, or that he even existed,. This might not even be a picture of him. Learn more about Shakespeare and the debate surrounding his identity. More importantly, take the opportunity to enjoy the plays, whether on film, television, or best of all, live!
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In doing so, he became the first African-American to play in the major leagues of baseball, breaking the racist colour barriers that shamefully tarnish the history of the great game of baseball. Jackie Robinson was a wonderfully talented player who earned the praise of fans for his play on the field. He also earned praise for his courage and determination in the face of a racist society that continued to resist the equal participation of non-whites in the game and in the everyday life of the nation. Robinson faced racial taunting and violence on the field, and untold indignities and threats away from the ballpark. Thankfully his determination led the way for more black players to follow and helped our society move along the long slow path towards changing attitudes, promoting acceptance and tolerance, and the goal of eliminating racism. Today in all MLB parks, players will wear #42 in honour of Jackie Robinson.
Martin Luther King Jr. lost his life on this day in 1968. He was shot and killed while he was on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee. He was only 39 years old.
Learn more about the life and death of Dr. King:
March 8th is International Women’s Day.
The theme for 2017 is #BeBoldForChange. Use this hashtag with your social media posts to raise awareness and challenge your social circle. According to intertnationalwomensday.com, we are all urged to “Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world– a more gender inclusive world.”
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Freedom to Read Week in Canada concludes on March 4.
As we celebrate, and defend, our Freedom to Read, it is important to remember that the Freedom to Read means nothing if people don’t choose to read. Compared to most of human history and to most of the world today, we in Canada in the 21st Century are a very literate society. We CAN read. But do we? We are not an illiterate society. But are we an aliterate society?
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
(Source: Unknown, but variations popularly attributed to Mark Twain.)
Find out more: freedomtoread.ca
Canada’s Freedom to Read Week is February 26 – March 4, 2017.
What does Freedom to Read mean to you?
Share your thoughts and ideas in the Comments section below.