Native American Heritage Month 2022

November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.

Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian and also the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, New York was one of the first proponents for an American Indian Day.  He asked the Boy Scouts of American to set aside a day to celebrate the first Americans, and they did so for three years.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

The nation’s indigenous people had a population of nearly 10 million before European settlers explored America. Their numbers began to fall rapidly shortly after that due to war and diseases brought by the settlers. Native Americans faced centuries of persecution and discrimination, losing their land and resources and being forced onto reservations that lacked the soil and natural resources needed to build and sustain their communities.

Did you know?

  • 7.1 Million- The nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native population alone or in combination with other race groups in 2020.
  • 10.1 Million- The number of distinct, federally recognized American Indian reservations in 2020, including federal reservations and off-reservation trust land. 
  • 574- The number of federally recognized Indian tribes in 2020.
  • 142,972- The number of single-race American Indian and Alaska Native veterans of the U.S. armed forces in 2019.

Additional Resources

Veterans Day

The Newest Rant: Happy Veterans' Day!

The military people who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life. They are parents, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors and coworkers, and are an important part of their communities. Veterans Day occurs on November 11 every year in the United States in honor of the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I. Veterans Day commemorates veterans of all wars.

Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who have served. For one day, we stand united in respect for you, our veterans. Here at Victra, we celebrate and honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Veteran Statistics

  • 18.2 million living veterans served during at least one war as of 2018
  • 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War
  • 3 million veterans served in support of the War on Terrorism
  • Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 325,000 were still alive as of 2020
  • 2 million veterans served during the Korean War

Honor Veterans

This Veterans Day, take the opportunity to honor a vet, whether they are a friend, family member, coworker, Guest, or someone you don’t know. Say “Happy Veterans Day” and thank them for their service! If you’re not quite sure what to say, just remember that it’s always the thought that counts and as long as you are sincere, they will know you are grateful for their sacrifices. Here are a few ways to say thank you.

  • “Thank you so much for serving our country the way you did. I am proud to be your friend/daughter/cousin/etc. You really are a hero.”: Many veterans would say they aren’t heroes, but simply did their duty as an American. Let them know how much you think of them and tell them that they’re a hero in your eyes.
  • Invite them over: If you know of a veteran who doesn’t have family around or is separated from family due to distance, invite them over for a Veterans Day meal or BBQ at your home. Tell them how much you appreciate their service.
  • Donate to a vet organization in their name: If a veteran you know has an organization that is dear to them, consider donating to the cause in their name. Send them a message along with the donation notification thanking them for their service.
  • Ask them to share their stories: If you know of a veteran who would be interested in having someone listen to their stories, invite that person over on Veteran’s Day. Host a get together where they can share their stories and your friends and family can listen to an eyewitness account of history.


If you are interested in connecting with other veterans or military spouses to support and encourage one another, or learning more about how to effectively support the military community by becoming an ally, then click here to join the VNation Veterans ERG.


Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

Every year from September 15th to October 15th, Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by appreciating the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the Hispanic and Latino communities. Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish or are descended from Spanish-speaking populations, while Latino refers to people who are from or descended from people from Latin America. The observance was born in 1968 when Congress authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded it to a monthlong celebration.

Hispanic Heritage Month always starts on September 15th, a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. This month also recognizes the independence of Mexico on September 16th and Chile on September 18th.

Hispanic and Latino Americans have been integral to the culture and prosperity of the U.S. and their contributions to the nation are immeasurable. The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2019, was 60.6 million, making up 18.5% of the nation’s total population. This established people of Hispanic origin as the nation’s largest ethnic minority. Though we should never wait for an annual event or holiday to take pride in or celebrate someone’s ethnic background, Latinx and Hispanic Americans use this as an opportunity to honor their respective cultures and ancestral backgrounds. 

2022 Theme

The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM), announced the 2022 Hispanic Heritage Month Observance Theme: “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” The theme encourages us to ensure that all voices are represented and welcomed to help build stronger communities and a stronger nation.

How to Celebrate

Here at Victra, our People of Color United [POCU] ERG is celebrating all month long and invite you to join us! Be sure to visit our Hispanic Heritage Month page and Vision to stay up to date on the latest celebration!

  • Educational Videos
  • Dance Tutorials
  • Recipes
  • Online Tours and Exhibits
  • Music & Games
  • And more!

Other Resource Links

Proclamation on National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2021 from the President

2020 Hispanic Heritage Month Special

Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)

August 5, 2022

August 5, 1943, marks the official forming of The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). It was a civilian women pilots’ organization, whose members were United States federal civil service employees. Members of WASP became trained pilots who tested aircraft, ferried aircraft, and trained other pilots. Their purpose was to free male pilots for combat roles during World War II. Despite various members of the armed forces being involved in the creation of the program, the WASP and its members had no military standing.

The WASP arrangement with the US Army Air Forces ended on December 20, 1944. During its period of operation, each member’s service had freed a male pilot for military combat or other duties. They flew over 60 million miles; transported every type of military aircraft; towed targets for live anti-aircraft gun practice; simulated strafing missions and transported cargo. Thirty-eight WASP members lost their lives and one, Gertrude Tompkins, disappeared while on a ferry mission, her fate still unknown.

The records of the WASP program, like nearly all wartime files, were classified and sealed for 35 years making their contributions to the war effort little known and inaccessible to historians. However, there were unofficial historians, like WASP, Marty Wyall, who collected scrapbooks and newspaper clipping about what the WASP members had done and what they had gone on to do.

After enduring discrimination and a long and difficult fight with congress, the WASP members were given the recognition they deserved:

  • In 1975 under the leadership of Col. Bruce Arnold, along with the surviving WASP members, organized as a group again and began what they called the “Battle of Congress.”
  • In 1977, for their World War II service, the members were granted veteran status by President Jimmy Carter.
  • 1984, each WASP was awarded the World War II Victory Medal. Those who served for more than one year were also awarded American Theater Ribbon/American Campaign Medal for their service during the war. Many of the medals were accepted by the recipients’ sons and daughters on their behalf.
  • The 1977 legislation did not expressly allow WASPs to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, but in 2002, the Army re-considered and decided to allow it. In 2015, however, the Army re-interpreted the law and ruled that the statute did not mandate the burial of deceased WASPs at Arlington. When WASP, Elaine Harmon, died on April 21, 2015, her request to have her ashes interred at Arlington was denied. Another WASP, Florence Shutsy-Reynolds, began a social media campaign to advocate for Harmon and other WASP members who wished to be interred at Arlington. Legislation in 2016 seemingly overruled the Army’s interpretation and it was widely reported that WASPs could “again” be buried at Arlington.
  • In 2002 WASP member Deanie Bishop Parrish and her daughter began plans for a museum dedicated to telling the WASP story. The National WASP WWII Museum’s grand opening was held on May 28, 2005, which was the 62 anniversary of the first WASP graduating class.
  • In 2009, the WASPs were inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
  • On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama and the United States Congress awarded the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal.
  • On New Year’s Day in 2014 the Rose Parade featured a float with eight WASP members riding on it.

Victra is glad to recognize and bring awareness to these heroes. These women rose above discrimination and fought continuously to be rightfully recognized for their contributions. During the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, President Obama said it well:

“The Women Airforce Service Pilots courageously answered their country’s call in a time of need while blazing a trail for the brave women who have given and continue to give so much in service to this nation since. Every American should be grateful for their service, and I am honored to sign this bill to finally give them some of the hard-earned recognition they deserve.”

International Non-Binary People’s Day

July 14th is International Non-binary People’s Day, which aims to celebrate the wide range of people worldwide who identify as non-binary. But do you know what it means to be non-binary? And do you know how you can better support non-binary people? Here are some ideas!

Let’s start with the basics- What does non-binary refer to?

Non-binary is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely.

Non-binary people can feel that their gender identity and gender experience involves being both masculine and feminine, or that it is fluid, in between, or completely outside of that binary.

Gender Identity vs Gender Expression

In order to understand non-binary gender identities better, it’s vital to understand the difference between gender identity and gender expression.

Gender identity refers to a person’s clear sense of their own gender. This is not something which is governed by a person’s physical attributes. Gender expression is how you express yourself and just like the rest of society, non-binary people have all sorts of ways to express themselves and their identity. They can present as masculine, feminine or in another way and this can change over time, but none of these expressions make their identity any less valid or worthy of respect.

What can I do to be an ally for non-binary people?

There are many ways to be inclusive of everyone, regardless of their gender identity. Here at Victra, we support using language that’s inclusive for all. It may take a bit of getting used to, but it will make people feel acknowledged and valid.

Here are 8 tips you can start using right away!

  1. Introduce yourself with your name and pronoun. Stating your pronouns reminds people that it might not always be immediately obvious what pronoun someone uses.
  2. Not everyone necessarily uses ‘he’ or ‘she’ pronouns and it’s important to be respectful of people who use different pronouns. The most common gender-neutral pronoun is the singular ‘they’ (they/them/theirs). Using people’s correct pronouns shows that you respect them and who they are.
  3. Using the pronoun ‘they’ is very useful when someone’s gender or identity is unknown. You will often already be using it without realizing, i.e. ‘somebody left their hat, I wonder if they will come back to get it.’
  4. Put your pronouns in your email signature or social media profile.
  5. Instead of addressing groups of people with binary language such as ‘ladies and gentlemen’, try more inclusive alternatives such as ‘folks’ or ‘everyone.’
  6. Use words that define the relationship instead of the relationship and gender. For example, use ‘parents’, ‘partner’, ‘children’ or ‘siblings.’
  7. Not everyone is comfortable with gendered titles such as ‘Ms’ or ‘Mr’. Titles are not always necessary, but if they must be used, it’s good to provide alternative ones such as ‘Mx’ (pronounced mix or mux)
  8. Use the singular ‘their’ instead of ‘his/her’ in letters and other forms of writing, i.e. ‘when a colleague finishes their work’ as opposed to ‘when a colleague finishes his/her work.’

Click here to read a blog post all about pronouns!

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Formally recognized in 2008, Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month) was created to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face in regard to mental illness in the US. Bebe Moore Campbell was an American author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate who worked tirelessly to shed light on the mental health needs of the Black community and other underrepresented communities. To continue the visionary work of Bebe Moore Campbell, each year Mental Health America (MHA) develops a public education campaign dedicated to addressing the mental health needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

History

Bebe Moore Campbell, founder of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Urban Los Angeles chapter, said in 2005, “Once my loved ones accepted [my] diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long. It took years. Can’t we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans… It’s not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible.”

According to NAMI, Campbell was a champion for mental health education and support among individuals of diverse communities. A leading African American author, she co-founded NAMI Urban Los Angeles and received NAMI’s 2003 Outstanding Media Award for Literature. She died in 2006. To honor her legacy, in 2008, the United States House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

Health Disparities

Racial and ethnic minorities often suffer from poor mental health outcomes due to the cultural stigma and lack of access to mental health care services.

See statistics on health disparities:

2022 Theme: Beyond the Numbers

Mental Health America recognizes that Black, Indigenous, and people of color have rich histories that go #BeyondTheNumbers. While there are stories of resilience born out of oppression, persecution, and abuse, there is immeasurable strength in each of these cultures. In an increasingly diversified America, we acknowledge the specificity of individual and group experiences and how it relates to their beliefs and well-being. BIPOC communities are significantly more likely to develop mental health conditions, and one of the major barriers to mental health treatment is access and the need for understanding mental health support. #BeyondTheNumbers explores the nuances and uniqueness in BIPOC communities.

This year’s theme for BIPOC Mental Health Month is #BeyondTheNumbers. Join us and together, we will gain knowledge on historical context, systems of support, and actionable ways to move forward toward a mentally healthy future.

Additional Resources

Click here to read our blog post from Mental Health Awareness Month that is filled with additional resources, apps to download for support and ways that Victra supports your mental health and well-being.

Juneteenth: Stories from the Past

In addition to all other forms of celebration, Juneteenth also highlights oral storytelling. There are usually open mics that allow individuals to share poetry (new and classics), singing, and storytelling. This is tradition also draws back to the story’s origin with General Granger’s verbal proclamation of freedom to the formerly enslaved Texans. 

The recordings of former slaves in Voices Remembering Slavery: Freed People Tell Their Stories took place between 1932 and 1975 in nine states. Twenty-two interviewees discuss how they felt about slavery, slaveholders, coercion of slaves, their families, and freedom.

Click here for the article summarizing the recordings

Click here to listen to the collection

The National Museum of African American History and Culture hosts a platform that provides a unique opportunity for individuals, families, and community groups to share their stories as part of the Museum’s online community collection. Read stories of people, places and moments that shape the black community this Juneteenth.

Click here to explore the collection


If you are passionate about highlighting cultural diversity by fostering compassion and inclusion for all people of color in the workforce, or learning more about how to effectively support the community by becoming an ally, then click here to subscribe to our group.


Juneteenth: Black-Owned Businesses

Supporting Black businesses is something we can do not just on Juneteenth the day but anytime throughout the year (shout-out to National Black Business month in August).

Let’s address the first hurdle: identifying a Black business. Simply because a business sells products that are catered to the Black community, does not necessarily mean that it is owned by a person who identifies as Black. Google has a cool filter on its search results to help you identify if the business is Black-owned. Trying to pick out an engagement ring for your love? Search for Black owned jewelry shop, and it will include if the shop identifies as Black-owned in the results.

Why you should support Black-Owned Businesses:

  • Closing the racial wealth gap
  • Creating Jobs and Opportunities
  • Supporting Communities

100+ Black-owned businesses to support in 2022 and beyond

You can use this link to search and find local black-owned businesses in eight 8 of Victra markets: Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Bay Area and Seattle.

Business Spotlight: Locafella

In its simplest form it’s an all-natural hair studio for dreadlocs full of talented locticians, but it’s so much more than that. Self-taught locs specialist, Jasmin Thomas, began her career while attending college at Chico State University on a basketball scholarship. Upon earning her degree in Psychology, Jasmin returned where she began working side-by-side in her father’s barbershop, as a loc-tician “hairapist”. With her unique artistic techniques, fast turnaround and quality service, Jasmin quickly rose to success.

“Locafella is a culture. It represents strength, courage, and faith. It represents a community of real people with pain and transgressions. Clients come here to feel love and sense of family. They want to escape the problems out here in the world today.

I started this brand with one client when I graduated college and I had two options, get a job in my career field or bet on myself and build my own brand. The way this path was aligned is divine. The more my clientele built, the more I needed to connect with other stylists like myself and make this one large brand. I wanted to leave something in the soil that would outlive me. I wanted to create generational wealth and build my own brand in my own name.”

-Jasmin Thomas, Owner & Master Loctician

The unique thing about Locafella Loc Studio is that they are the only luxury dreadlock salon around. Locafella studio has two locations; 7 stylist at the Fontana location Inland Empire, and 10 stylists at the Melrose location LA. Everyone works together as a team and respects the brand and what it represents. They also have clothing and a full hair product line up available in stores, Walmart.com, and Amazon. Visit their website here!


If you are passionate about highlighting cultural diversity by fostering compassion and inclusion for all people of color in the workforce, or learning more about how to effectively support the community by becoming an ally, then click here to subscribe to our group.


Juneteenth: Food

Breaking bread with loved ones is an important part of African American culture, and Juneteenth is no different. These selected recipes reflect the holiday’s Texas roots.

In the video below, NMAAHC Web Content Specialist Andre Thompson and his family show how to make the perfect brisket for Juneteenth.

Here are some other great recipes you can try with your family!

Barbequed Beef Brisket Sandwich

In much of the south, barbecue is about pork. In Texas, however, beef brisket is the chosen meat on the barbecue trail.

Stewed Tomatoes and Okra

Okra is Africa’s culinary totem. It originated on the continent and made its way around the world.

Red Velvet Cake

Although many think that red velvet cake has been an American standby for centuries, it is actually a twentieth-century invention, having originated in the 1920s.

Hibiscus Ginger Sweet Tea

Hibiscus is the fresh or dried pod of Hibiscus sabdariffa, a plant native to West Africa.

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans And Rice is a classic Monday-night dinner in New Orleans.


If you are passionate about highlighting cultural diversity by fostering compassion and inclusion for all people of color in the workforce, or learning more about how to effectively support the community by becoming an ally, then click here to subscribe to our group.


Juneteenth: HBCU Celebration

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been a big part of the economic and social structure of the United States for nearly 190 years. Many students of color, many of them notable, have attended HBCUs thanks to the rich cultural and educational opportunities provided. Notable names such as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Strahan, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Vice President Kamala Harris are just a few on a long list of high achievers to graduate from various Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Many HBCU’s and their local communities are honoring Juneteenth at a variety of events, both on and off campus, as well as virtually, over the week before and after June 19th. Check out what is available locally for you to join the celebration! Prairie View A&M University celebrates Juneteenth, honoring those that paved the way for us, with this video about the importance of Juneteenth.

HBCU GO — the digital lifestyle and sports destination owned by Byron Allen, who also owns theGrio — will debut two documentaries in celebration of the Juneteenth holiday. The free, streaming platform is the leading media provider for America’s 107 historically Black colleges and universities. Portraits ‘N Color: Repowered and History Half Told Is Untold will air on June 18th and 19th.

Portraits ‘N Color: Repowered is a documentary featuring a series of short films produced by Kristin Adair, chief executive officer of Unchained Stories, who weaves together the personal stories of three women from Milwaukee, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. Adair’s project was completed with a grant from the Public Welfare Foundation, an endowment fund committed to transforming communities of color for more than 75 years. Portraits ‘N Color: Repowered follows PWF grantees Lashonia Tate and Adair, who are active in trying to transform their respective neighborhoods and improve residents’ lives, and features an interview with PWF President and CEO Candice C. Jones.

History Half Told Is Untold dives into the historic efforts of the First Baptist Church of Williamsburg, which was formed more than 245 years ago in Williamsburg, Virginia. Thought to be one of America’s very first Black churches, the historic church was created in 1776 by a union of free and enslaved Blacks, even though laws existed then forbidding Blacks from gathering. First Baptist Church of Williamsburg has played witness to everything from slavery in the U.S. to its tumultuous civil rights movement. From behind its pulpit over 60 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his message, inspiring many and moving even more into action.

Both documentaries are available on HBCUGO.TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.  They can also be viewed by downloading the HBCU GO app.


If you are passionate about highlighting cultural diversity by fostering compassion and inclusion for all people of color in the workforce, or learning more about how to effectively support the community by becoming an ally, then click here to subscribe to our group.