May is: Mental Health Awareness Month
Every year during the month of May, Mental Health Awareness Month helps to raise awareness about mental health, fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for policies that support the millions of people in the U.S. affected by mental illness. Research from SHRM showcases how work and mental health are interconnected and how more employers are taking steps to promote wellbeing and alleviate burnout.
On May 9, join Calm Business for a special virtual event that includes a 10-minute live meditation and an panel discussion on mental health, or join on May 11 for virtual retreat on mental health and wellness sponsored by SHRM and Calm.
Older Americans Month
In 1963, Older Americans Month was established. This May diversity month celebrates Americans over 65 and how they contribute to society in the U.S. Within your own workforces, SHRM recognizes that the pandemic-related decline in workforce participation among older people is reversing – calling this the “Great Unretirement.” Read this article for guidance on welcoming back older workers and helping to fill critical skills gaps at your organizations.
Jewish American Heritage Month
This May heritage month honors American Jews and their contributions to the United States. If you’ve never celebrated Jewish American Heritage Month before, consider participating by visiting a Jewish museum or a site of historical interest, making a Jewish recipe, or listening to a Jewish podcast. Learn more about how to celebrate, support your Jewish colleagues and neighbors, and take a stand against anti-Semitism by clicking here.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
In 1990, the U.S. government established Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This May diversity holiday seeks to recognize the achievements and contributions of these individuals. We recommend celebrating AAPI Heritage Month by watching a documentary about Asian American History or buying books from AAPI-owned bookstores. Learn more about Asian and Pacific Islander heritage and highlights by clicking here.
National Clean Air Month
Clean Air Month is observed in May each year across the United States, sponsored by the American Lung Association since 1972. The month long awareness campaign aims to educate people about the impact clean air has on our lives and encourages people to take positive steps to improve the air quality, both locally and globally. The consequences of poor air quality include cancer, bronchitis, allergies and asthma. An employer can sponsor a number of activities to impact the air quality like Bike to work day, and car share day.
May 1: Global Love Day
Dedicated to the spreading of love and peace to all mankind, Global Love Day is observed on May 1. This day was created by The Love Foundation to encourage unity and celebrate humanity through unconditional love. This day reminds us to bring out the best in everyone and everything. It enriches us and them, when we do. “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” – Fred (aka “Mister”) Rogers
May 2: National Foster Care Day
Dedicated to all the children in the United States foster care system, National Foster Care Day, on the first Tuesday in May, encourages everyone to wear blue and raise their voices to show their support for foster youth everywhere. Employers can have a representative from the Department of Human Services to do a presentation for employees on how they can get involved and consider becoming a foster or adoptive parent for children in the Arkansas foster care system. It’s a great way to create permanency and stability for these children and to create loving families for your employees. For more information, contact the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services. CASA of Northwest Arkansas shares five things you can do to support foster care locally.
May 5: Cinco de Mayo
Some think of Cinco de Mayo as the day to eat tacos and drink margaritas, but this multicultural May holiday has real significance for Mexican Americans. It celebrates Mexico’s defeat of the French Army. Read the real story and support a Mexican business in your community as a way to celebrate.
Locally, join the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas for their festival on Saturday, May 6.
May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
May diversity days include this event, which aims to raise awareness for the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals worldwide and incidents of LGBTQ+ rights violations. With an estimated 1.4 million transgender individuals in the U.S. today, and Gen Z — the most gender-fluid generation in history — entering the workforce, it’s vital for HR professionals to support inclusion and avoid harassment.
To learn more, SHRM offers this on-demand webinar HR’s Guide to Making the Workplace Safer for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Employees, or this article “Transgender Inclusion at Work Reaches Record Numbers.”
May 29: Memorial Day
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the US military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War. It evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.