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Diversity Corner

Diversity Corner

January - Martin Luther King, Jr.  
Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the pivotal leaders of the American civil rights movement.  King was a Baptist minister, one of the few leadership roles available to black men at the time.  He became a civil rights activist early in his career.  He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956) and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957), serving as its first president.  His efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.  Here he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history.  In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. 

February - Black History Month
Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as “Negro History Week” and later as “Black History Month.”  What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied or even documented when the tradition originated.  Although blacks have been in America at least as far back as colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a respectable presence in the history books.   

March -Women's History Month
The public celebration of women’s history in this country began in 1978 as “Women’s History Week” in Sonoma County, California.  The week including March 8, International Women’s Day, was selected.  In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) co-sponsored a joint Congressional resolution proclaiming a national Women’s History Week.  In 1987, Congress expanded the celebration to a month, and March was declared Women’s History Month. 

April - Alcohol Awareness Month
The cost and consequences of alcoholism and drug dependence place an enormous burden on American society.  As the nation’s number one health problem, addiction strains the health care system, the economy, harms family life and threatens public safety.  Substance abuse crosses all societal boundaries, affects both genders, every ethnic group, and people in every tax bracket.  Scientific documentation defines alcoholism and drug dependence as a disease that has roots in both genetic susceptibility and personal behavior.

May - National Stroke Awareness Month
Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in America, but many people do not realize how educating themselves and others will help reduce the incidence of stroke.  Anyone can have a stroke no matter your age, race or gender. But, the chances of having a stroke increase if a person has certain risk factors, or criteria that can cause a stroke. The good news is that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented, and the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from stroke is to understand personal risk and how to manage it. 

June - Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month

July - America
During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.  After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author.  Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4.

August - National Immunization Awareness Month
National Immunization Awareness Month – Immunization is critical to maintaining health and preventing life-threatening diseases among people of all ages and cultures throughout the US.  Each year in the US, tens of thousands of people die because of vaccine-preventable diseases or their complications, and even more experience pain, suffering and disability.  This month calls attention to the importance of infant, child, adolescent, and adult immunization, and seeks to reduce disparities in vaccine use while maintaining public trust in their value and safety.

September - Constitution Day
Constitution Day is an American federal holiday that recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution.  It is observed on September 17, the day the US Constitutional convention signed the Constitution in 1787.  The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004.  Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known has “Citizenship Day”.  In addition to renaming the holiday “Constitution Day”, the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.  In May 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.  This holiday is not observed by granting time off work for federal employees.  When Constitution Day falls on a weekend or on another holiday, schools and other institutions unofficially observe the holiday on an adjacent weekday. 

October - Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect battered women’s advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities were conducted at the local, state, and national levels

November - Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has officially been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863, when during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.  As a federal and popular holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the “big six” major holidays of the year.  The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated to give thanks to Native Americans for helping the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony survive their first brutal winter in New England.  The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days,  providing enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans.  The feast consisted of fish (cod, eels, and bass) and shellfish (clams, lobster, and mussels), wild fowl (ducks, geese, swans, and turkey), venison, berries and fruit, vegetables (peas, pumpkin, beetroot and possibly, wild or cultivated onion), harvest grains (barley and wheat), and the Three Sisters: beans, dried Indian maize or corn, and squash.  The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “thanksgivings” – days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of drought.

December - National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month 
When a person drinks more than the liver can process (metabolize), that person can no longer “think” straight. Why? Because alcohol is not processed like other foods and liquids. It bypasses the digestive system and moves into the small intestine and from there into the bloodstream where it travels to body organs and tissue high in water content and highly vascularized (meaning lots of blood vessels) – like the brain. Alcohol leaves the body (is metabolized) by the liver. It takes the liver ABOUT one hour to metabolize one standard drink. Therefore, 4 drinks will take 4 hours, and while each drink waits its turn out the liver, it “sits” in the brain where it impairs neural networks and therefore a person’s ability to “think” straight and act responsibly. [Note: gender, age, medications, weight, stage of brain development all influence how quickly alcohol is metabolized and how alcohol impairs one person's brain vs another person's. Therefore, the one drink per hour is a very rough average.]





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