Most Americans associate the month of October with falling leaves, jack-o-lanterns and scary movies. However, for those with a connection to breast cancer, sexual assault or autism, October is a time to bring awareness and raise funds for their respective causes.
Each month has various causes associated with it that are heavily promoted over the span of about 30 days, such as breast cancer awareness this month. These awareness months are both important and necessary because they serve as a guide for organizations to plan events within a specific time period. This helps by bringing attention to issues that unaffected individuals may not be mindful of and providing a way to raise recognition and funds.
By condensing the timeline of a campaign, awareness months encourage organizations to host more events for fundraising and education over a shorter period of time. This allows for a higher concentration of activism within that time period, thereby maximizing the influence of said campaign.
For example, this month, Susan G. Komen for the Cure will host over 140 5-kilometer races as part of its annual Race for the Cure event. This event, which is dedicated to raising money and awareness for breast cancer, has had more than 850,000 participants worldwide since its inception in 1983. Like so many other organizations, Susan G. Komen has centered its events and fundraising around a single month in order to increase the impact of each occasion.
Awareness months additionally bring attention to communities which are oppressed or neglected. In June of 2017, Facebook added a feature through which users had the option to update their current profile picture with a frame customized in accordance with LGBTQ Pride Month as well as the option to react to a post with a rainbow flag, a symbol universally associated with the LGBTQ community. Although this may seem like a small gesture, Pride Month provided the perfect opportunity for Facebook to use its vast social media influence to make a marginalized community feel just a little bit more accepted.
Lastly, awareness months provide a way of shining a light on communities, illnesses and social issues in a way that is accessible to the general population. Unfortunately, there are simply too many causes for people to remain aware of and keep in mind at all times. Having specified months for certain issues remains a positive way of raising cognizance for many worthwhile causes. Despite their short time span, the potential for positive change posed by awareness months is limitless.
This piece was originally published in the October 2018 edition of The DN.