A Diversity Message from Neil Meltzer, President and CEO, and Dr. Sybil Pentsil, Chief Diversity Officer – November 2023



As we start this month’s diversity message, we must acknowledge the ongoing anguish following the terror attacks in Israel and the traumatic events continuing to unfold each day, causing more loss, suffering and sorrow. We are a diverse community of many backgrounds and faiths, with many team members and patients having direct connections to what is happening in Israel and Gaza. We ask that you continue to be there for your colleagues, patients and community members with empathy, respect and understanding.

Our nation and the world have also seen an increase in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence, and now more than ever, it is important remember that your fellow team members may be frightened or anxious as these events unfold.

At the office of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, we believe that every LifeBridge Health patient and team member deserves to feel safe and uplifted in being who they are. We are proud that our teams and communities include such a wide array of different faiths, cultures, backgrounds, orientations and identities, and hope that these messages help all to feel at home here at LifeBridge Health. Below, learn about some of November’s observances and accept our heartfelt wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving with those you love. 

National Native American Heritage Month
November is National Native American Heritage Month. This month of awareness pays tribute to the expansive histories and cultures of the peoples indigenous to the United States. This celebration of Native American history and culture also serves as an opportunity to raise awareness for the challenges many native people still face in the United States.  

Dia de los Muertos
Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a vibrant and deeply meaningful Mexican tradition that celebrates the lives of departed loved ones. Observed from October 31 to November 2, this colorful and lively festival is a fusion of indigenous and Catholic beliefs that honors the journey of the deceased. During Dia De Los Muertos, families create elaborate ofrendas (altars) adorned with marigolds, candles, mementos and the favorite foods of those who have passed away. Far from a somber occasion, Dia De Los Muertos is a joyful and spirited celebration of life and death, where the border between the living and the dead blurs. 

All Saints' Day and All Souls Day
All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, observed on November 1 and 2 respectively, are two meaningful and solemn occasions in the Christian calendar that commemorate the lives of departed loved ones. These days offer an opportunity for reflection, remembrance and prayer for the souls of the departed.

All Saints' Day is a day to honor the saints and martyrs who have devoted their lives to faith and righteousness, serving as inspirational examples to us all. It's a time to celebrate their contributions and the light they brought into the world. 

Tihar, the Festival of Lights, is a captivating and vibrant celebration deeply rooted in the culture of Nepal. Also known as Deepawali or Yamapanchak, Tihar is a five-day festival (November 10- 14) that honors various animals and celestial beings. Each day is dedicated to a different form of life, starting with crows and concluding with the celebration of brothers on Bhai Tika. It's a time for families to come together, exchange blessings and express gratitude to the creatures that share our world. 

Veterans Day
Veterans Day, observed on November 11, is a commemoration of U.S. military veterans. On this federal holiday, many Americans express gratitude to members of the armed forces for their service, and awareness is also raised for the issues commonly faced by veterans after their service. This year, we will honor our veterans by providing a lapel pin to LifeBridge Health team members who have served for our country. On behalf of LifeBridge Health, we thank you for your service! 

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 11 to 18, is a national campaign to raise awareness and support for those who are unhoused and/or hungry. The campaign’s official site reports that 37.3 million Americans live below the poverty level, and that 580,000 Americans are homelessness on any given night. During this awareness week, many will participate in local efforts to raise funds and provide support for those who need it. 

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is a vibrant and joyous celebration that illuminates the hearts and homes of millions around the world. Also known as Deepavali, this ancient Hindu festival symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. During Diwali, families and friends come together to exchange gifts, decorate their homes with colorful rangoli and light oil lamps and candles to dispel the darkness. Join us in celebrating Diwali and the unity it brings to our communities. This year, Diwali will be celebrated on November 12. 

International Day for Tolerance
International Day for Tolerance, observed on November 16, is a global celebration of one of humanity's most fundamental values - tolerance. It's a day to reflect on the importance of acceptance, understanding, and respect for diverse cultures, beliefs, and perspectives. By embracing tolerance, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable society, where every individual is valued and respected for who they are. Join us in honoring the International Day for Tolerance and be a part of the global movement towards a more understanding and compassionate world.

Dutch American Heritage Day
Dutch American Heritage Day, also celebrated on November 16, is a time to honor and celebrate the enduring contributions of Dutch immigrants to the United States. It's a day to embrace and appreciate the enduring legacy of the Dutch in America and to acknowledge the lasting impact of their contributions to our nation's history and progress.

Transgender Day of Remembrance
Transgender Day of Remembrance, observed on November 20, is a solemn occasion to honor the lives of transgender and gender-diverse individuals who have lost their lives to hate crimes and discrimination. This day serves as a powerful reminder of the challenges and injustices faced by the transgender community, and it calls upon us to stand in solidarity against prejudice and violence.

Thanksgiving falls this year on November 23. In the spirit of Thanksgiving gratitude, we express our heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of our LifeBridge Health team members for all that they do to CARE BRAVELY for our communities day in and day out. We further extend this gratitude to our patients and their loved ones, whose trust in our care propels us to compassionately improve lives and promote health in all we do. We wish a safe and happy Thanksgiving to all! 

Day of the Covenant (Baha'i) and Ascension of Abdu'l-Baha
The Day of the Covenant is a special and significant observance in the Baha'i Faith, dedicated to the concept of unity and the pivotal role of the Covenant in Baha'i beliefs. Celebrated on November 26, this day is an opportunity for Baha'is and those interested in the faith to come together and reflect on the enduring covenant that binds the Baha'i community.

The Ascension of Abdu'l-Baha, observed on November 28, is a sacred and significant day in the Baha'i Faith. It commemorates the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, the appointed successor and beloved son of Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i Faith.



REFLECT: Veterans Day is a meaningful way to honor and show appreciation for the sacrifices and service of veterans; take some time to reflect on the sacrifices veterans have made for our freedom.

RECOGNIZE: Acknowledge the contributions and struggles of Native American people in American society.

RESPOND: Take some time to learn more about all the religious holidays observed in November.

J.E.D.I. Champion Nominations
The Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Champion award is given to individuals who embrace differences between team members, promote justice, equity, diversity and inclusion and go above and beyond to create a culture of belonging at LifeBridge Health. J.E.D.I. Champions are team members who: 

• Participate in J.E.D.I. education.
• Develop/engage in opportunities for J.E.D.I. engagement across the institution.
• Promote a sense of belonging for all team members.
• Demonstrate commitment to SPIRIT values.
• Support institutional efforts to be just, equitable, diverse and inclusive.

To nominate a team member for the J.E.D.I. Champion Award please send an email to JEDI_Office@lifebridgehealth.org with the following information: 

• Your name and email address
• Name, email address and title of the person you would like to nominate
• A short paragraph outlining how the nominee fits the criteria listed