2019 Diversity Calendar

The 2019 calendar of observances celebrates the incredible diversity within the United States.

From month long celebrations such as Black History Month (February), Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 -October 15), National American Indian Heritage Month (November) and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May) to more specific observances such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday (January 21) or the Lunar New Year (February 5), the U.S. calendar of observances is incredibly diverse.

Whether planning your multicultural marketing campaigns or looking for ways to celebrate your cultural heritage, here are some key dates for 2019 with a particular focus on multicultural / diversity segments in the United States.  

  • January 21:  DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.’S BIRTHDAY The birthday of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated on the third Monday in January.
  • February(month):  BLACK HISTORY MONTH Celebrates Black History and African American culture
  • February 5:  LUNAR NEW YEAR,  Also known as the Spring Festival  or Chinese New Year.   *5 Things to know about Chinese New Year
  • March 31:  CESAR CHAVEZ DAY honors the Mexican American farm worker and celebrates the contributions of labor leader and activist Cesar Chavez.
  • April: (month): ARAB AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH celebrating Arab American heritage, culture and contributions.
  • May: (month):   ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH recognizes the contributions and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
  • May: (month): HAITIAN HERITAGE MONTH is observed in May 2019. Haitian Heritage Month is a celebration in the United States of Haitian heritage and culture. It was first celebrated in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1998.
  • May 21:  WORLD DAY FOR CULTURAL DIVERSITY is a day that recognizes cultural diversity as a source of innovation, exchange and creativity.
  • June 20:  WORLD REFUGEE DAY raises awareness about the plight of refugees .
  • August 9:  INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES celebrating the richness of indigenous cultures as well as recognizing the challenges indigenous peoples face today.
  • September 15– October 15 (month):   NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH celebrates the contributions, heritage and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans.
  • September 17:  CONSTITUTION DAY AND CITIZENSHIP DAY commemorating the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787 and also honors all who have become U.S. citizens.
  • October 14: INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY (Native American Day) Celebrates and honors Native American history and culture.
  • October 14: Día de la Raza, “Day of the Race”, in Spanish-speaking countries and communities.
  • November (month):    NATIONAL AMERICAN INDIAN and ALASKA NATIVE HERITAGE MONTH honoring the history and culture of Native Americans and indigenous people in the United States.
  • December 26– January 1, 2020:  KWANZAA  is a celebration honoring African American heritage

While these excerpts relate specifically to ethnicity / cultural background, there is an extremely comprehensive list that includes religious observances as well as public holidays put together by the Anti-Defamation League.  For brands & agencies looking to connect with multicultural audiences, Alcance Media Group can assist.

Diversity in government- Representative?

Diversity in the 2018 Elections – is the demographic of candidates changing to match that of the electorate?

In a representative government, legislators are elected to represent groups in their districts or states.  Regardless of party affiliation, governments in the U.S. and throughout the world have been overwhelmingly male dominated.  So while the obvious answer is NO, it is interesting to see how governments are changing.

Demographics of a community may change rapidly, but government representation changes much more slowly.  The 2018 midterm elections in the United States have seen a significant increase in the number of candidates (and winners) representing multicultural communities.  Resulting in the first Arab and Muslim representatives to the House of Representatives, the first openly gay Governor, and more latino as well as female representatives  representatives on their way to D.C. the recent elections are steps in diverse communities gaining more representation.

VIDEO – Race becoming historic factor in some 2018 midterm elections


Both parties will need to continue to recruit candidates that are representative of their communities.  While there is still a large differences between the percentage representation in government and the diverse make up of the country, even small representation will have a voice.

In 2018 there were more voter resources for multicultural voters than ever before as well as a significant amount of focus on the diverse candidates that were making waves in their communities.  While it is too early to tell if this becomes a trend, however looking at the changing demographic of the country, these multicultural communities need to make their voices heard.


Multicultural Voter Resources

Getting multicultural voters from potential to influential.

When the impact of multicultural voters is discussed, a key focus is the potential impact of Hispanic voters as well as African American voters on national elections. However, the multicultural voter potential for city and state elections is enormous and strategies should reach key multicultural voter segments in the community.   Asian American voters in states such as California can have a tremendous impact whereas Arab American voters can have a major impact in cities such as Los Angeles and Detroit as well as state elections in Michigan.  In the southwest and in certain areas, Native American voters are worth considering.

Whether or not political marketers value these communities, many communities are pushing to make their voice heard and actively trying to register voters.

Key to achieving that potential is a matter of registering to vote and most importantly getting out to vote. There are numerous organizations working specifically with multicultural communities to increase voter registration.

Here are a few resources that will help multicultural voters get started:

Hispanic voter registration: Voto Latino

Arab American voter registration: Yalla Vote

Asian & Pacific Islander voter registration: APIA Vote

Native American voter registration: Native Vote

Multicultural Voter Resources
Multicultural Voter Resources

To find out more about how multicultural voters can make an impact, there are some resources below.

Voting is important for everyone and your vote does count.  For voter information for all U.S. Citizens there are numerous options, but here are some key options that will help you easily register in your community.  USA.Gov or Rock the Vote.  Therefore, it is easier than ever to make your voice heard.

Regardless of your background, religious beliefs, race, birthplace, or beliefs on a specific issue, your vote counts.  A brief look at international news shows that many do not have the freedom or opportunity to vote.  Above all it is important to GET OUT AND VOTE!


Multicultural Voters - Who Needs Them?

Elections and Multicultural Voters – Massively important in the U.S.

Working with multicultural marketing, of course I believe that multicultural voters are important. BUT, are they important to your campaign, or not.  If so, then how important, and do you have the resources to effectively reach your core constituency.

For some quick hits you can visit this Infographic on Multicultural Voters.  For a few states here are some key multicultural segments to consider.

Taking a look at just a few states and which groups may play a key role.

  • California: U.S. Hispanic, Asian American segments are critical and rapidly growing.
  • Texas: Major U.S. Hispanic population deriving from Mexico / Central America
  • Florida: Another major Latino population yet different from the Southwest with major communities from the Caribbean, Colombia, Venezuela and South America.
  • New York: by definition – is extensively multicultural in/near New York City
  • Michigan: While on a statewide level, percentages are small, key centers for Hispanic (Grand Rapids) and Arab American (Dearborn) can play a pivotal role.

For marketers – specifically in the U.S. – Why do they matter and how can you reach them.

Obviously for marketers, the ability to get your brand message across in a relevant way to all segments of the population is important, but there are also significant limitations on resources such as the almighty BUDGET.

Infographic Impact of Multicultural Voters

While it is easy to say that you don’t have the resources to reach these segments, there are many ways to include these audiences without great cost.  In California & Texas, while there are benefits to having in-language Spanish outreach, it is possible to get your message to the majority of these groups in English.  For Asian American, not many have resources to translate into Vietnamese, Korean, Hmong, Filipino etc., but this should not deter marketers from considering how to reach these groups in English.

Resources and results dictate much of the decision around marketing platforms, however many times there is complacency that all markets are being reached through general market campaigns..

While Subway may have mass appeal and a picture of a sandwich will do, for political candidates, health insurance, and other government outreach programs these segments are key. Here are some quick resources to find out more about reaching these key multicultural markets..


Multiculturalism in the World Cup

Cultural heritage and multiculturalism in sport

The contribution of multicultural communities to international sport

In the craziness that is media, a joke quickly upsets somebody and the response becomes news.   A great example is that of Trevor Noah from The Daily Show chanting “Africa won the World Cup” and making light of the fact that there were significant contributions by French national team players of African descent.  Apparently the French ambassador was bothered enough to send a letter to the show resulting in a great response.

Outside of the freakout from headline blurbs on whatever homepage you use, there are interesting challenges that abound in the perception of multicultural sports talent.   While teams routinely recruit players from other countries, most of those players will be celebrated in their communities.

  • MLB (Major League Baseball): Caribbean & Latin American countries provide numerous important players to the league.
  • NHL (National Hockey League): Quite diverse and made up of predominantly Canadian, U.S., European and Russian players.
  • NBA (National Basketball Association): Predominantly U.S. born, with a significant make up of African American players and a handful of international players.

Yet, for national teams there are conversations about how they are maximizing their national sports resources.  When the U.S. team missed the 2018 World Cup there was criticism that U.S. Soccer was an “old boys club” and ignores talented players from underserved communities such as Hispanic or African American (SB Nation The “old boys club”)

Also, it is worth checking out Trevor Noah’s nicely handled response to the French Ambassador relating that there is no such thing as African – French, just French.

Embrace the multicultural contributions

The great point in the response is that both the cultural heritage as well as pride in one’s current country can be celebrated.  In the United States, it is common to refer to heritage, especially for communities who have recently seen rapid growth or influence such as:  Hispanic (Hispanic American), Asian (Asian American), and Arab (Arab American).  Like everything else, there can be both positive and negative connotations, but as France celebrates its victory, there is reason to celebrate the contributions of their diverse community.  Hopefully soon the United States will be able to do the same for U.S. soccer.

Other articles related to sports and diversity:

Native American and indigenous markets in the Americas

Native American and Alaska Native market information

In the multicultural marketing world, the Native American market is often overlooked.  Compared to other key multicultural segments such as U.S. Hispanic or Asian American which are expanding rapidly, the overall numbers are small.  With the exception of government initiatives (ex. health related initiatives), there are few brands that even think about the Native American market segment. 

In reviewing LinkedIN the most interesting title outside of government was Vice President/Communications Advisor (Hispanic and Native American segments) at Wells Fargo.  Wells Fargo has always been one of the leaders in initiatives reaching out to various community groups so it was nice to see them at the very least including this segment in some way.

By the numbers: Indigenous populations throughout North America (United States, Canada, Mexico)

Population (U.S.): 6.7 million people making up only about 2% of the total U.S. Population

  • 21 states have populations exceeding 100,000.  Alaska has the highest percentage population at 19.9% followed by Oklahoma (13.7%), New Mexico (11.9%), South Dakota 10.4%) and Montana (8.4%)
  • Home ownership: 52.9% (versus 63.1 percent for overall population)
  • Health insurance: 19.2% lacked health insurance coverage versus 8.6% for the overall population

Population (Canada): 1.7 million people making up 4.9% of the total Canada Population

  • Fast growing – significantly outpacing the non-indigenous population growth from 2006 – 2016 (4x)
  • Younger: 32 years old compared to 41.
  • Housing and Poverty: these are key challenges facing the government

Population (Mexico): 8.7 million people making up 10.7% of the total Mexico Population

  • Mexico’s indigenous population is one of the two largest in the Americas (Peru is the comparable) and much greater than any in North America.
  • The Mexican government recognizes 56 indigenous languages
  • Half live in four states (Oaxaca (18.3%), Veracruz (13.5%), Chiapas (13%) and Puebla (9.4%)

For marketers – specifically in the U.S. – Why do they matter and how can you reach them.

Obviously for marketers, the ability to get your brand message across in a relevant way to all segments of the population is important, but there are also significant limitations on resources such as the almighty BUDGET. 

While 27% of single-race American Indian and Alaska Native people spoke a language other than English at home (21.6% for entire nation) most brands are going to have significant difficulty making it worth the effort.  Working with inclusive messaging and focusing on location and data are going to be key to including these segments.  One of the clearest is that of location and where these populations are located such as this breakdown by the U.S. Census.

American Indian and Alaska Native Population: Race Alone or In Combination with Other Races, Percent of Total Population on July 1, 2016[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

American Indian and Alaska Native Population: Race Alone or In Combination with Other Races, Percent of Total Population on July 1, 2016
American Indian and Alaska Native Population: U.S. Census

[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

While data segmentation will be key to reach those that have self identified or characteristically fit these categories, the key will be the marketing program and messaging that is utilized.  Key initiatives that are trying to reach this segment include: State Government Health initiatives, regional utilities, and local/regional banking among others.  On the private side, Wells Fargo has put some focus on this segment and is well versed in the positive and negative aspects.  Some quick examples from Wells Fargo…one of the few that have specifically reached out to this group.  On the positive side, the bank recognizes the importance and has the Wells Fargo Indigenous Peoples Statement: 

On the negative side, just like with any corporate initiatives there are challenges such as this lawsuit with the Navajo tribe:

While there is no doubt that reaching these populations for certain companies and initiatives is important, for most brands this will likely not be considered a top segment for their efforts.  For all, there is a need to maintain a general openness to all populations and of course be as inclusive as possible, especially if you do business in the western U.S.


Hispanic marketing - no shortcuts

World Cup marketing - uniting multicultural sports fans & marketers

FIFA World Cup Marketing 2018 – multicultural opportunities

For sports fans, brands, and multicultural marketers alike, FIFA’s World Cup marketing is in a league of its own.   From June 14 – July 15, 2018 fans from throughout the globe will be on the edge of their seats.  While those who have teams in the draw will of course be rooting for their team, those who did not make the cut and haven’t abandoned the sport will be choosing other teams to watch based on whatever criteria they like (cool jersey, star player, playing against their rival).   But what does that mean for the United States sports fan?

World Cup 2018 Groups
World Cup 2018 Groups

NO Team USA – BUT……

It’s not just about booking plane tickets for the team, each country invests an enormous amount of resources and money into reaching the world stage.  While the U.S. sports fan overall may not prioritize soccer the way the rest of the world does, team USA not qualifying will impact more than just some travel plans.  The ripple effect will involve programming and of course changes to World Cup marketing plans  U.S. brands.  While the fair weather team USA fan may be on the sidelines, there will be a major interest taken by multicultural sports fans.  A quick list of some key fan groups.

  • Soccer fans: wide spectrum from youth soccer players to those with ties to countries outside the U.S.
  • U.S. Hispanic: 20% of the population and highly engaged with soccer.  Teams in the draw: Uruguay, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Brazil (Latam)
  • Arab Americans: Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morocco
  • Asian Americans: Teams in the draw: South Korea/Korea, Japan

Interest & Opportunity

This is an opportunity for marketers to connect with diverse segments of the United States through the uniqueness of this event.  While interest is high among all communities, one the most important and studied is that of the U.S. Hispanic community.  Quick hits from ThinkNow Hispanic Soccer Study in 2017

  • U.S. Hispanics self-identify more as avid soccer fans 22% – 11% for non-Hispanic.
  • Watching soccer highlights online 52% versus 36% non-Hispanic.

However, another community may be relevant for World Cup marketers.  The 2018 FIFA World Cup has a significant representation from the middle east with five Arab nations being represented.  World Cup marketing in 2018  may be one of the best opportunities for brands to connect with Arab Americans in addition to the key U.S. Hispanic segment.  Especially for brands or initiatives that are in the geographic regions where Arab Americans reside, this is an opportunity.


Hispanic marketing - no shortcuts

Hispanic marketing and its relevance today

U.S. Hispanic marketing – still relevant today?

Once the U.S. Hispanic market reached the 15% mark, focused Hispanic marketing initiatives received a lot of attention.  Now with the Hispanic market being even larger, it has continued to change.  With much of the increase in the population coming from U.S. born Hispanics versus foreign born the group has splintered into segments within segments.  Adding in the increase in interest from large agencies, data integrations, interesting new approaches such as Total Market there are also more options. 

U.S. Hispanic influence in American culture

Multicultural audiences continue to grow in size and importance and the Hispanic audience is one of the most important.  The U.S. Hispanic market has massive influence on the success businesses as well as on American culture.  Almost, if not all major cities in the U.S. have integrated latino food, music, culture, and even street signs into their metro area.    What is always being debated is how to reach this segment.  From a recent media post article there were some key points that highlighted some interesting items.

Language:  While to percentage of Hispanics that are proficient in English has risen swiftly, the percentage of Hispanics that stream entertainment in Spanish has also increased significantly (even greater among Hispanic millennials).  

Influence:  While the population growth is still strong, it has slowed somewhat, yet the integration of the segment into American culture is stronger than ever.  In business ownership the Hispanic community now comprises ownership of 12% of all U.S. business.

How can brands reach out to this important yet diverse segment.

Hispanic marketing - no shortcuts
no shortcuts to effective Hispanic marketing.

Many marketers take the approach of adding a stock photo of a latino looking person to an ad, check a box on whatever programmatic platform and call it a day.  While there are some that fully integrate a “total market” strategy” incorporating cultural relevance, language, etc with an overall cohesive strategy,  but that seems to fall more to Toyota, P&G, Coca Cola and other major advertisers.  

  • 18% of U.S. population and growing versus just 6.5% in 1980
  • Significant differences in the latino population in Los Angeles versus that of Miami.
  • If doing business in the California, Texas, Oregon, Florida, Illinois or New York, you cannot ignore this segment.

The U.S. Hispanic segment is one of the most important segments and represents major buying power and influence.  It is time for marketers to pay more than lip service to the importance of the group.  There are numerous factors in these decisions such as time, budget, and need.  However there are numerous options to reach this segment through focused media, and utilizing agencies that specialize in multicultural segments that are more effective and don’t necessarily require utilizing an entire advertising budget.


U.S. Arab community - growing influence

 Arab American segment in the United States.  Where are they

The Arab American population is one that is diverse, influential, and yet misunderstood. According to the Arab American Institute (AAI), countries of origin for Arab Americans include:

Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen

It is estimated that 3.7 million Americans trace their roots to an Arab country.  While they are represented in every state, approximately two thirds live in just ten states.

  • 82% of Arabs in the U.S. are citizens
  • Majority related to Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Iraq
  • Michigan and specifically the greater Detroit area has one of the largest, oldest and most diverse Arab American communities according to Arab America

Where do they live?

While present in each state, the Arab American communities are strategically concentrated in metropolitan areas.

  • Key states: Michigan, California and New York.
  • Key metropolitan areas: Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Northeastern NJ

For political marketers, especially in Michigan, California and New York the Arab American community can be a major influence in the success or failure of your candidate or initiative.   Just look at the article about the 3rd congressional district in Illinois from Arab News.

Arab American community
Arab American population influencing key regions

How can brands reach out to this important yet diverse segment.

For marketers, the first determination is going to come down to overall goals and of course budget.  If your brand or initiative is active in Michigan, California or New York, then it is very important to consider these segments in addition to any total market strategies that are in place.    To learn more about your specific needs here are some additional resources.


faces of asian diversity

Diversity within the Asian American segment

faces of asian diversity

Complex make up of the U.S. Asian market

According to Pew Research grew 72% between 2000-2015 and is outpacing the growth in the Hispanic segment of 60% during that same period.  While the growth is astounding,  the diversity of this segment in many areas is incredible.

  • No single country of origin group dominates.
  • 20 million Asian Americans trace their roots to more that 20 countries.
  • By 2055 Asians are projected to surpass Hispanics as percentage of all U.S. immigrants.

Here is a list of the 19 largest origin groups that make up 94% of the Asian population in the U.S:  Bangladeshis, Bhutanese, Burmese, Cambodians, Chinese, Filipinos, Hmong, Indians, Indonesians, Japanese, Koreans, Laotians, Malaysians, Mongolians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Thai and Vietnamese.

The three main origin groups make up the majority of the overall Asian population: Chinese (24%), Indian (20%), Filipino (19%).

Where do they live?

Just like the Hispanic market there are some important centers of populations from certain backgrounds.  The top 10 states are: CA, NY, HI, TX, NJ, IL, WA, FL, VA, MA and each have a different set of characteristics.

  • California: 31% of the overall Asian population and represents 15% of the statewide population. Led by Filipino, Chinese and Indian populations.
  • New York: Asians make up over 8% of the state population with Chinese and Indian representing the majority.

For political marketers, especially in California, New York, Washington, and Texas the Asian and Hispanic populations can make or break your initiatives.  To find out more about your district there are breakdowns down to the congressional district here.

Asian population by State 2010 Census

How can brands reach out to this important yet diverse segment.

For marketers, the first determination is going to come down to overall goals and of course budget.  If your brand is active in California or New York, then it is very important to specifically reach out to these markets in addition to any total market strategies that are in place. Similar to reaching out to the Hispanic market if your company does not have the ability to handle non English speakers, then the choice of language is made for you.  For those who have the resources and ability to engage specific segments in their language, then there are major benefits in doing so.  To learn more about your specific needs here are some additional resources.


Alcance Media Group: is a network that helps advertisers and their agencies reach important multicultural segments.