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



Our J.E.D.I. office is dedicated to ensuring that all team members feel a sense of belonging and appreciation for the many unique cultures, communities, and backgrounds represented by our team members and patients. Below, learn about some of October’s observances and how you can help make a difference here at LifeBridge Health. 

Filipino American History Month
Filipino American History Month pays tribute to the extensive history and rich culture of Filipino people in the United States. Commemorating the first recorded arrival of Filipino people in the United States in October 1597, this month serves as an opportunity to learn more about Filipino history and celebrate their legacy in the United States. 

LGBTQ History Month, Spirit Day and National Coming Out Day
October is LGBTQ History Month, a time to both reflect on the enduring history and culture of LGBTQIA+ Americans and to address the ongoing struggles they still face. Within LGBTQ History Month are two important observances --- National Coming Out Day and Spirit Day. National Coming Out Day, observed on October 11, celebrates the act of “coming out” and revealing one’s authentic sexuality and/or gender identity to one’s family, friends, and peers. On this day, we honor those who have come out and can live their truth openly, while extending our love and encouragement to those who have not or cannot come out safely. 

Spirit Day, observed this year on October 19, is a day of awareness against the bullying of LGBTQIA+ youth. Whether in person or online, many young LGBTQIA+ people are subject to bullying. This discrimination is extremely detrimental to mental health and can have severe consequences for the victims. In support of this anti-bullying initiative, we encourage LifeBridge Health team members to wear purple on October 19. 

Indigenous Peoples Day
Indigenous Peoples Day, this year on October 9, celebrates the history and cultures of America’s native inhabitants. This day calls our attention to the vibrance, perseverance, and legacy of the indigenous peoples whose presence in what is now the United States predates that of European colonists by tens of thousands of years.

October 15 through 23 is Navaratri, a significant Hindu festival honoring the Mother Goddess Durga. Navaratri is a time to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, during which Hindus perform puja, the Hindu act of worship, honoring the different aspects of the goddess Durga.

The Festival of the Twin Holy Birthdays
The Festival of the Twin Birthdays or the Twin Holy Birthdays refers to two successive Holy Days in the Bahá'i calendar that celebrate the births of both the Bab (October 16) and Baha'u'llah (October 17), the two prophets associated with the Baha'i revelation. These double Holy Days – when Baha'is gather to pray, read from the Baha'i writings, sing, dance, and celebrate – hold enormous joy and meaning for Baha'is all over the world. The notion of "twin Manifestations of God" is a concept fundamental to Bahá'i belief that describes the relationship between the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Both are considered Manifestations of God in their own right, having each founded separate religions (Bábism and the Baha'i Faith) and revealed their holy scriptures. To members of the Baha'I faith, however, the missions of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh are inextricably linked: The Báb's mission was to prepare the way for the coming of "Him whom God shall make manifest", who eventually appeared in the person of Bahá'u'lláh. 

Calls to Action:

Reflect: Take a moment to reflect on the hardships and struggles our LGBTQIA+ friends and family members have endured in their fight for equality.

Recognize: Acknowledge the contributions of Indigenous people in American society.

Respond: Take some time to learn more about all the religious holidays observed in October. 

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