National Coming Out Day

National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an annual civil awareness day internationally observed on October 11. Founded in 1988, in the feminist and gay liberation spirit of the personal being political, the emphasis is that the most basic form of activism is coming out to family, friends and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. The foundational belief is that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of silence and ignorance, and that once people know that they have loved ones who are lesbian or gay, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views. The process of coming out involves self-disclosure of one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

NCOD was founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg, a psychologist from New Mexico and founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O’Leary, an openly gay political leader from Los Angeles and then head of the National Gay Rights Advocates. The date of October 11 was chosen because it was the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

Initially administered from the West Hollywood offices of the National Gay Rights Advocates. The first NCOD was observed by eighteen states, garnering national media coverage. In its second year NCOD headquarters moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and was observed by21 states. After a media push in 1990 NCOD was observed in all 50 states and seven other countries. Participation continued to grow and in 1990 NCOD merged their efforts with the Human Rights Campaign.

National Coming Out Day is observed annually to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT community and civil rights movement. The first decades of observances were marked by private and public people coming out, often in the media, to raise awareness and let the mainstream know that everyone knows at least one person who is lesbian or gay. In more recent years, when coming out is now far less risky in most Western countries, the day is more of a holiday. Participants often wear pride symbols such as pink triangles and rainbow flags.

National Coming Out Day is observed in many countries, including Australia, Canada, Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, the Human Rights Campaign sponsors NCOD events under the auspices of their National Coming Out Project, offering resources to LGBT individuals, couples, parents and children, as well as straight friends and relatives, to promote awareness of LGBT families living honest and open lives. Candace Gingrich became the spokesperson for NCOD in April 1995.

Free thought Day

Free thought Day is celebrated annually on October 12th in the United States of America, by freethinkers and secularists to mark the anniversary of the end of the Salem Witch Trials. The seminal event connected to Freethought Day is a letter written by then Massachusetts Governor William Phips in which he wrote to the Privy Council of the British monarchs, William and Mary, on this day in 1692. In this correspondence he outlined the quagmire that the trials had degenerated into, in part by a reliance on “evidence” of a non-objective nature and especially “spectral evidence” in which the accusers claimed to see devils and other phantasms consorting with the accused.

Contrary to what has been claimed by some, there was no specific order or edict by Phips to ban “spectral evidence” from all legal proceedings. Rather, this was one concern that brought about Phips’ stopping the proceedings. When the trials ultimately resumed, “spectral evidence” was allowed but was largely discounted and those convicted were swiftly pardoned by Phips. In the time leading up to the trials being stopped, it was actually clerics including the famous Cotton Mather, often portrayed as the chief villain in the hysteria, who took the lead in advising cautions against the use of “spectral evidence.” The Rev. Increase Mather, Cotton’s father, specifically condemned “spectral evidence” in his book ‘Cases of Conscience’, in which he stated that:”It were better that ten suspected witches should escape, than that one Innocent Person should be Condemned.”It was this shift in sentiment, the escalating hysteria and the fact that accusations were beginning to reach higher into the Massachusetts Bay Colony hierarchy, that led to Phips’ action. Dr. Tim Gorski, Pastor of the North Texas Church of Freethought observed: ” The devout fundamentalist believers that constituted the community of Salem and the Colony of Massachusetts realized that there are no witches, no demons, no evil spells.

Winston Churchill once remarked that ‘What the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end.’ Churchill also said that ‘You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else!’ For, you see, eventually, at some point, and to some degree, people simply have to act rationally. You have to open doors before walking through doorways. You have to turn the key in your ignition before you drive home today. No amount of faith and prayer can allow anyone to do otherwise. And despite all the rhetorical flourishes of the superstitious believers, that’s the way it’s always been and always will be. Indeed, this truth is becoming more and more important every day.It’s also the essence of the role of the law: to hold people to a standard of dealing with one another that’s based on reason. That’s the basis of every shall and shalt not that there is, not some divine command of ‘do it or else.’”Freethought Week is often observed during the week in which October 12th falls or Freethought Month during October which, of course, culminates in the holiday of Halloween.

Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)

StatusquoEnglish musician Richard John Parfitt, OBE was born 12 October 1948. He is best known for being a singer and rhythm guitarist in the English rock band Status Quo. Born in Woking, Surrey, Parfitt attended Goldsworth School, Woking and first met band member Francis Rossi in 1965 in Butlin’s Minehead whilst he was playing as Ricky Harrison in a musical trio called ‘The Highlights’. Rossi was playing with the Spectres (forerunner of Status Quo) at the time and Parfitt was sufficiently impressed to approach him with a view to working together. Nothing came of the meeting until 1967 when Parfitt joined Rossi, Alan Lancaster, John Coghlan and Roy Lynes to form the first lineup of the band under the name “Status Quo”. Their music was characterized by their distinctive brand of boogie rock . After a number of lineup changes, the band became The Status Quo in 1967 and Status Quo in 1969.They have had over 60 chart hits in the UK, starting with 1967’s Psychedelic Rock hit Pictures Of Matchstick Men, ”.

Parfitt has been a continuous member of the group, and has penned some of their greatest hits, sometimes in collaboration with the group’s keyboard player Andy Bown, among them “Whatever You Want”, “Again and Again”, and “Rain”. He recorded a solo album in 1985, but it was never released. Among musicians on the record were bassist John Edwards and drummer Jeff Rich, formerly with the Climax Blues Band and Judie Tzuke. He has earned the nickname ‘The WOMORR’ (The Wild Old Man of Rock ‘n’ Roll). Parfitt is known for his trademark white Fender Telecaster – a 1965 model . In 2006, Parfitt released his invention, the “guitar facelift” which has the backing of guitar manufacturer Fender .On 16 June 2007, the presenters of the British children’s television show, Tiswas, reunited for a special one-off show. Parfitt performed with the rest of Status Quo on the show (all of whom were constantly plagued by the show’s trademark practical jokes during their performance), and presenter Chris Tarrant alleged that during a broadcast of the show in the early 1980s, Parfitt was smoking cannabis on live children’s television.On 15 September 2007, Parfitt and Rossi appeared on Celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, earning £50,000 for charity.

In December 2009, Parfitt teamed up with Rolf Harris for the single “Christmas in the Sun”. This follows on from the 2008 Status Quo hit “It’s Christmas Time”, which Parfitt wrote with current songwriting partner Wayne Morris. Twenty two of their songs have reached the UK Top Ten and In 1991, Status Quo received a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Status Quo starred in their first feature film Bula Quo! which was released to cinemas in July 2013. The film coincided with the release of the soundtrack album Bula Quo!. The first single from the album, the track Bula Bula Quo was released in June 2013, and is Status Quo’s one hundredth single release.

Columbus Day/Indiginous People’s Day/ Native American Day

Columbus Day marks The Anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas, on 12 October 1492 and is celebrated by many countries in the new World. It is also known as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, as Día de la Raza (“Day of the Race”) in many countries in Latin America, as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Belize and Uruguay, as Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity) in Argentina, as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional in Spain, and as Giornata Nazionale di Cristopher Columbus or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo in Italy and in the Little Italys around the world.

Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and became a federal holiday in the United States in 1937, though people have celebrated Columbus’s voyage since the colonial period. In 1792, New York City and other U.S. cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landing in the New World. President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event. During the four hundredth anniversary in 1892, teachers, preachers, poets and politicians used Columbus Day rituals to teach ideals of patriotism. These patriotic rituals were framed around themes such as citizenship boundaries, the importance of loyalty to the nation, and celebrating social progress.

Many Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, the first occasion being in New York City on October 12, 1866. The first statewide Columbus Day holiday was proclaimed by Colorado governor Jesse F. McDonald in 1905, and it was made a statutory holiday in 1907. In April 1934, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt also proclaimed October 12 a federal holiday under the name Columbus Day.

Since 1970 the holiday has been fixed to the second Monday in October, coincidentally exactly the same day as Thanksgiving in Canada. It is generally observed nowadays by banks, the bond market, the U.S. Postal Service, other federal agencies, most state government offices, many businesses, and most school districts. Some businesses and some stock exchanges remain open, and some states and municipalities abstain from observing the holiday. The holiday also coincides with the anniversary of the United States Navy (founded October 13, 1775), and thus both occasions are observed by the Navy (and usually the Marine Corps as well) with either a 72- or 96-hour liberty period.The date Columbus arrived in the Americas is also celebrated in many countries in Latin America as Día de la Raza (“day of the race” or “day of the [Hispanic] people”), commemorating the first encounters of Europeans and Native Americans. The day was first celebrated in Argentina in 1917, Venezuela and Colombia in 1921, Chile in 1922, and Mexico in 1928.

In 1957 Spain changed the name to the Día de la Hispanidad (“Hispanicity Day”), and in 2002 Venezuela changed to the name to the Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance). Día de la Raza has also come to be seen by many indigenous activists throughout Latin America as a counter to Columbus Day; a celebration of the native races and cultures and of the resistance against the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. In the U.S. Día de la Raza has served as a time of mobilization for pan-ethnic Latino and Hispanic activists and has remained in the largest Hispanic social justice organization, the National Council of La Raza.

Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, and South Dakota are U.S. states that do not recognize Columbus Day at all, though Hawaii and South Dakota mark the day with an alternative holiday or observance. Hawaii celebrates Discoverers’ Day, which commemorates the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii on the same date, the second Monday of October, though the name change has not ended protest related to the observance of Columbus’ discovery. The state government does not treat either Columbus Day or Discoverers’ Day as a legal holiday; state, city and county government offices and schools are open for business. South Dakota celebrates the day as an official state holiday known as “Native American Day” rather than Columbus Day. Oregon does not recognize Columbus Day, neither as a holiday nor a commemoration; schools and public offices remain open. Iowa and Nevada do not celebrate Columbus Day as an official holiday; however, the governor is “authorized and requested” by statute to proclaim the day each year.

Several other states have removed Columbus Day as a paid holiday for government workers while still maintaining it either as a day of recognition or a legal holiday for other purposes. These include California and Texas. The city of Berkeley, California, has replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day since 1992, a move which has been followed by several other localities including Sebastopol and Santa Cruz, California; Dane County, Wisconsin; Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Seattle, Washington. Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day “Native American Day”, or name the day after their own tribe.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day (also known as Native American Day) is a holiday celebrated in various localities in the United States, begun as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day. The purpose of the day is to promote Native American culture and commemorate the history of Native American peoples. The celebration began in Berkeley, California, through the International Indian Treaty Council, and Denver, Colorado, as a protest against Columbus Day, which is listed as a federal holiday in the United States, but is not observed as a state holiday in every state. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is usually held on the second Monday of October, coinciding with the federal observance of Columbus Day.

The idea of replacing Columbus Day with a day celebrating the indigenous people of North America instead first arose in 1977 from the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1992, the 500th anniversary of the first of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, was marked as a day to promote “continental unity” and “liberation.” the jubilee included sailing replicas of Columbus’ ships under the Golden Gate Bridge and reenacting their “discovery” of America.

However many attendees from Northern California protested against the “Quincentennial Jubilee” that had been organized by the United States Congress for the San Francisco Bay Area on Columbus Day, 1992, including The Bay Area Indian Alliance, and and Resistance 500″ task force, who advocated the notion that Columbus was responsible for genocide of Indian people. In 1992, the group convinced the city council of Berkeley, California, to declare October 12, a “Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People”, and 1992 the “Year of Indigenous People”, and to implement related programs in schools, libraries, and museums. The city symbolically renamed Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” beginning in 1992 to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the demise of Native American people and culture through disease, warfare, massacre, and forced assimilation. Many other local governments and institutions have either renamed or canceled Columbus Day, either to celebrate Native Americans, to avoid celebrating actions of Columbus which led to the colonisation of America by Spanish conquistadors,

Two California cities, Sebastopol and Santa Cruz, now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and at least four states do not celebrate Columbus Day (Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota) with South Dakota officially celebrating Native American Day instead. Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day “Native American Day”, or name the day after their own tribe. California considered replacing Columbus Day formally with Native American Day.

Virginia celebrates both Columbus Day and Yorktown Victory Day, commemorating a battle in the Revolutionary War. The United States Virgin Islands celebrates “Puerto Rico–Virgin Islands Friendship Day.” Hawaii celebrates Discoverer’s Day, commemorating the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii. San Francisco, California, and a number of other American cities have either canceled their observances or renamed them “Italian Heritage Day” in honor of Italian Americans,for whom Columbus, believed by many historians to be a native of Italy, was a source of pride. Columbus, Ohio has not sponsored an official Columbus Day parade since the 1990s, in part over controversy over the legacy of Columbus. Other cities and states have canceled celebrations due to lack of interest in the holiday or budget cuts.

Some Native Americans formally celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day. One way this occurs is a sunrise ceremony on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay. In 2014, the city council of Minneapolis, Minnesota, officially recognised Indigenous Peoples’ Day along with Columbus Day. Seattle, Washington also officially recognizing the holiday.

In 2014, Red Wing, Minnesota, replaced Columbus Day with Chief Red Wing Day to honor Hupahuduta, the Dakota leader known as “Red Wing” and Indigenous Peoples’ Day is recognized in place of Columbus Day at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In 2015 Grand Rapids, Minnesota, passed a resolution recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Traverse City, Michigan, passed a resolution recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day on February 2. St. Paul, Minnesota, passed a resolution recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of Columbus Day and Portland, Oregon and Albuquerque, New Mexico have adopted similar resolutions.