April is Campus Pride Month, Autism Acceptance Month, and National Deaf History Month

The warmer days of April see a lot of activity on Penn State campuses, including due to the Penn State community coming together to celebrate Campus Pride Month. This special celebration is undertaken when a vast majority of students are on campus during Spring semester, in the spirit of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride month observed nationally in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (CSGD), and many other units, departments, colleges, and campuses participate in innovative ways to show their pride and support.

April is also Autism Acceptance Month, which was started in 1970 by the Autism Society of America as Autism Awareness Month. The new name with a campaign of #Celebrate Differences, focuses on acceptance of individuals with autism, to create improved support and opportunities in education, employment, accessible housing, affordable health care, and comprehensive long-term services. The United Nations also marks April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. The 2024 observance aims to increase global awareness by direct engagement of of individuals with autism from all around the world, and elevating their voices, experiences, perspectives and ideas for the future.

April is also National Deaf History Month, to commemorate the achievements of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. According to the National Association of the Deaf, this month was first introduced in 1997 and celebrated annually from March 13-April 15 till 2021, but now it is fully commemorated during the month of April. It celebrates three key moments in American History for the Deaf community: the April 15, 1817 establishment of the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, CT as the first permanent public school for the deaf, the April 8, 1864 signing of the Gallaudet University charter by President Abraham Lincoln to found the first institution for advanced education for the deaf and hard of hearing, and the 1988 Deaf President Now (DPN) protest which led to the hiring of the first deaf president of Gallaudet University on April 8, 1964.

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