April is Celebrate Diversity Month! Over the past few weeks, we’ve recognized and honored our employees’ differences and shown a light on their stories.
Farzana Atique, PE, Transportation Engineer III, Newark, DE
This week we are spotlighting International Mother Language Day, celebrate annually on February 21.
In 1952, protestors in what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) sacrificed their lives on February 21 to stand against the rule establishing Urdu (West Pakistan's language) as the official language. In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared February 21 International Mother Language Day in order to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism across the globe.
In Bangladesh, people lay floral wreaths at the Shaheed Minar, a national monument in Dhaka established to commemorate those killed in the protests. Visitors begin arriving in the early morning to show their respect for the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for their mother language.
Regionally, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, there is a Shaheed Minar where the local Bangladeshi community gathers on February 21 to observe the day. Cultural programs, poetry recitals, and discussions of literature are arranged on the occasion.
This day means a lot to Bangladeshi people who live abroad in different countries, including Farzana. "The holiday reminds us of our precious mother language, Bengali, and encourages us to teach the language to our children. The day also teaches us to show respect to an individual’s language and encourages us to learn different languages if the opportunity arises."
Source for the photo above: Mostaque Ahammed - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0,