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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Jan. 14, 2022

Coast Guard special observances educate, celebrate contributions, and unite workforce   

By MyCG Staff

Individuals from many backgrounds and cultures serve proudly in the Coast Guard. Cultural awareness is critical for mission readiness and building a cohesive workforce.  

The Coast Guard promotes cultural awareness by conducting annual commemorative activities related to special observances. These command functions support equal opportunity goals and our core values. They also help the service understand different perspectives and achieve objectives to promote equality, dignity, and respect for all workforce members. 

Throughout the calendar year, the Coast Guard recognizes 10 special observances authorized by Public Law, Bill, Executive Order, or Presidential Proclamation:  

  • January- Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 17, 2022) 
  • February- National African American History Month (Feb. 1-28, 2022) 
  • March- Women’s History Month (March 1-31, 2022) 
  • May- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May 1-31, 2022) 
  • June- LGBTQ+ Pride Month (June 1-30, 2022) 
  • June- Juneteenth (June 19, 2022) 
  • August- Women’s Equality Day (Aug. 26, 2022) 
  • September- National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15, 2022) 
  • October- National Disability Employment Awareness Month (Oct. 1-31, 2022) 
  • November- National Native American Heritage Month (Nov. 1-30, 2022) 

Commands and units are encouraged to host and participate in appropriate activities and ceremonies. “The emphasis of recognizing these observances is to engage the workforce, encourage interaction, and educate,” said Juan Torres, Special Ethnic Observances Program Specialist, Civil Rights Directorate. “When commands and units honor and recognize cultural observances, they are celebrating the differences and similarities that unite us as a service.”  

The Coast Guard encourages all units and commands to conduct programs and promote participation in activities and observance events that highlight and raise awareness for contributions made by diverse individuals and groups to American history and culture. 
Conducting recognition programs can vary from unit to unit, but they all enrich the Coast Guard community, enhance cultural awareness, and increase our personal connections. Common commemorative activities include hosting speakers, presentations by unit members, taking trips to museums or other educational institutes, art contests, historical artifact displays, fun runs, creating graphics, sharing hashtags or stories on social media, and many more. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many units use the digital tools and channels available to them to host virtual activities. 
To spark ideas for other activities and to access toolkits related to planning and hosting events, look no further than the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI). DEOMI is the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Coast Guard’s longstanding civil rights training institution which produces a host of educational materials about annual special observances. Units interested in getting more information and finding these resources can visit their special observance page

Understanding and welcoming other cultures is critical to mission effectiveness in a diverse workforce. By organizing special observances throughout the year, units are helping build a culturally competent workforce which enables the service to attract and retain world-class talent and support the Coast Guard Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Equal Opportunity (EO) mission. 

For more information about each observance, visit the Civil Rights Directorate Special Observance Page where you can also access a calendar. To learn more about conducting a special observance event, please visit: You can also get more information by contacting Juan Torres or your local Leadership Diversity Advisory Council (LDAC) representatives.  

For more Civil Rights news and information, subscribe to the “On Deck” monthly newsletter through GovDelivery. Read archived copies of the newsletter on the Civil Rights Directorate newsroom.   


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