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5 Posts authored by: Steven Huang

Hello everyone!


In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Macmillan hosted a plethora of events to raise awareness about Native American culture and history. Here are some of the events that we had held.


Earlier this month, we had a screening of Rumble: The Indians Who Have Rocked the World. The documentary focused on the contributions made by Native Americans in music and in modern culture. Interested in incorporating this movie in your class? Feel free to check this out, it’s a great resource with lesson plans and ideas on how to do so.


Last week, we invited Heather Bruegl to speak to us about the important contributions made by Native American women. Heather Bruegl is an educator and an activist and has spoken to numerous organizations on Native American history. Make sure to check out the video below:



Did you know that November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance?


Transgender Day of Remembrance was first started in November 20th 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender advocate, who had held a vigil for Rita Hessler, a transgender women who was killed in 1998¹. What started off as a small annual event grew into a campaign that is observed every year in remembrance of all transgender people who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence².


Here are some facts about the issues that affect transgender people in the United States:

  • About 50% of trans teen males, who were assigned female at birth, had attempted suicide at least once¹. About 30% of trans teen females, who were assigned male at birth, at attempted suicide at least³ 
  • 26 states do not have any laws preventing employers from firing someone who is trans
  • At least 22 people who identify as transgender or non-conforming have died this year due to violence ³.


While we as a country have made strides creating a safe environment for LGBTQI+ community, there is still a lot of work needed to ensure that everyone feels comfortable both in their personal and professional life.


Last June, in honor of Pride Month, we invited Jessica Soukup to speak at the office on how to be LGBTQ+ allies and how we all can make a difference.



Want to make an impact in your school or your community? Contact your local LGBTQ+ non-profit and learn how you can make a difference! Here are a few great resources to help you get started:


¹Transgender Day of Remembrance | GLAAD 

²Transgender Day of Remembrance Resource Kit for Journalists | GLAAD 

³Trans teens much more likely to attempt suicide - Reuters 


Violence Against the Transgender Community in 2019 | Human Rights Campaign  

Steven Huang

Origins of Halloween

Posted by Steven Huang Nov 1, 2019

Pumpkins, scary decorations, an overabundance of fun-sized candy in your grocery store--it’s Halloween! It’s the one day all kids look forward to as they knock on doors with their friends and loved ones to collect their candy.


But did you know that origins of Halloween was less festive and fun? 


According to, Halloween (also known as Samhain) was a day for the Irish to ward off evil spirits by lighting a sacred bonfire and wearing costumes. Other practices included:

  • Burning crops and sacrificing animals to Celtic deities 
  • People read fortunes by reading each other’s costumes
  • Once everyone was done, they relit their hearth using the flame from the sacred bonfire to protect them from the upcoming winter


When Christianity found its way into Ireland, the church kept many of their practices while incorporating new ones. By 1000 AD, the church designated November 2 to be All Souls Day--a day where poor people will visit affluent homes for soul cakes in exchange for praying for the souls of their loved ones².


Eventually Halloween found its way to the United States and its own identity was shaped by the customs and traditions early Europeans settlers and Native Americans¹. Ghost stories, parties, and celebrating the harvest all became an integral part of early American Halloween celebrations¹. Interestingly enough, Halloween was celebrated mainly by states like Maryland and southern states¹. Waves of Irish immigrants helped spread the holiday throughout the states and eventually it became mainstream.


But, for a while, celebrating Halloween became difficult. During World War II, sugar rations made it difficult for people to pass out candy and it wasn’t until the baby-boomer generation that Halloween made a comeback².


Today, Halloween is now one of the most popular holidays in the United States that is widely celebrated and has evolved into being one of the most commercial holidays as well. It is expected that this year’s Halloween will generate over 8.8 billion dollars, the bulk of which is comprised of costume and candy sales³.



For more information on the history of Halloween click here:



¹, “Halloween 2019”

², “How Trick-or-Treating Became a Halloween Tradition”

³National Retail Foundation, “Retail Holiday and Seasonal Trends: Halloween”.

When we think about September, we think about fall foliage, apples, and pumpkin spice lattes. But, did you know that September is also the month that contains  the International Day of Peace?


The holiday was first started by the United Nations in 1981. For the past few years, the United Nations had dedicated this day to a peaceful cause in hopes of raising awareness on global issues that continue to affect all of us.


Some of the themes for the past few years include: human rights, education and democracy.


This year's focus is on climate change--urging people to take action on combating climate change and raising awareness on sustainability and green initiatives.


Share what you think is important by using the hashtag #peaceday to spread the word.


To learn more about the event click here:

International Day of Peace 


 photo credit: 

The George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division


August is for vacations, air conditioned rooms, and sipping cold drinks at the beach, but what some people may not know is that August was a pivotal month for civil rights activists.


On August 28th 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. made his infamous “I Have a Dream” speech to thousands of activists in Washington D.C. The simple yet powerful words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech united people from all over the country so that together, we can achieve an idyllic version of the America Dr. Martin King Jr. had envisioned.


Several months after the speech was made, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went on to become one of the youngest people to win the Nobel Peace Prize.


Despite the enormity of the speech and his status as an iconic leader of the Civil Rights Movement, the path to equality was still a hard paved road. In 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the Selma to Montgomery March, a 53-mile 3-day walk, to advocate for the rights of African Americans to vote. The protest was a success; as a result of their efforts, President Lyndon B. Johnson called on Congress to pass federal legislation that would protect all African Americans’ right to vote.


So much has changed in the past few decades after the speech was made. Let’s take this moment to remember all that we have accomplished, while continuing to pave a brighter future for all people.




To see a recording of the speech, click here: Martin Luther King - I Have A Dream Speech - August 28, 1963 - YouTube