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If the world was made up with people who were all the same, what a boring place it would be! Instead, humans come in all sorts of varieties. With different colored skin, hair and eyes, with unique skills and talents, and with varying types of abilities.

National Inclusion Week (NIW) is here to act as a reminder that the world is made up of a mosaic of people who all have different characteristics, traits, cultures, gifts and abilities. It’s a beautiful, diverse and creative world to be part of and this is a great reason to celebrate!

History of National Inclusion Week

National Inclusion Week has a background that can be traced back to the mid-20th century, when great strides were made to tear down walls between people that were built upon differences and, instead, to begin including them. From the 1954 decision to stop school segregation in the US to the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the concept of inclusion of folks with differences has been developing over the years.

The first celebration of National Inclusion Week occurred in 2013. The day got its start when the Inclusive Employers membership organization in the UK decided it was time to draw more attention to the topic of inclusion and diversity. National Inclusion Week provides employers and organizations with a wide range of opportunities and resources to think about (and re-think!) their culture as well as their policies. Members of the organization are offered exclusive access to various resources, and can register for the event online.

Each year, as National Inclusion Week is Celebrated, the organizers of the event focus on different themes that shed light and bring attention to various aspects of the concept of inclusion. Various topics over the years have included themes such as:

  • Be yourself, be the best you can be
  • Connect for inclusion
  • Each one, reach one
  • Time to act, the power of now

Staying connected with the ever-growing need for folks with all sorts of differences to be included is a vital part of the modern world. And National Inclusion Week offers an ideal opportunity to get involved in a wide variety of ways, celebrating the beautiful reality of the ways that differences make the world a better place!

National Inclusion Week Timeline


Brown vs. Board of Education (Kansas)

The US Supreme Court rules that “separate but equal” education was unconstitutional, essentially ending the segregation by skin color in schools. [1]


The Rehabilitation Act is passed in the US

This act guarantees civil rights to disabled people, especially requiring accommodation for disabled students in schools.[2]


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is passed

The world’s first comprehensive law about civil rights for people with disabilities is signed by President George H. W. Bush. [3]


Inclusive Employers Organization is formed

Bringing together employers in the UK who are committed to being inclusive. [4]


First National Inclusion Week is celebrated

The first theme “Think Differently” encourages people to reframe their thinking. [5]

How to Celebrate National Inclusion Week

Looking for ways to include and be included in celebrations related to National Inclusion Week? Get on board by being creative with ideas for participating in the day, such as some of these:

Learn More About Inclusion

One of the best ways to pay heed to National Inclusion Week is to dive into some resources that can help provide more education and enlightenment about the subject of inclusion. In addition to information available through the Inclusive Employers website, it might be important to read some of the documents related to historical events of inclusion.

From the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909 to the admission of women to Oxford University in 1920, from the creation of the Paralympics in 1960 to the Civil Rights act of 1964, there are dozens of interesting and important events that can be researched and learned about in celebration of this day. Head on over to the local library or look up some events online to get started!

Join National Inclusion Week Events

Employers, community organizers and even local government officials might be interested in attending events in celebration of National Inclusion Week. Various webinar events can be attended, as well as taking daily actions that will work toward the ultimate goal of inclusion all over the world. Those who register (for free) as participants on the NIW can get access to a Tool Kit which offers a Daily Action for each day of the week that will help to change the way individuals and companies think about and implement inclusion for all.

Volunteer for an Inclusion Charity

An excellent way to celebrate National Inclusion Week might be to get connected with a non-profit organization in the local community or online and volunteer to help. In addition to being a powerful way to give back to the community, volunteering for a charity that assists those with disabilities can help people to learn more about their community and about themselves. Plus, it’s a great way to make connections and become more involved with the purpose of inclusion.

Employers who are interested in supporting inclusion charities may be interested in offering their employees the opportunity to receive paid volunteer days so that everyone can take part!

Host A National Inclusion Week Event

Those who do not have an event scheduled in their community for National Inclusion Week might want to consider hosting one! Organizers can invite speakers to an event whose voices may not normally be heard, including those with stories of disabilities, cultural differences or breaking other norms. As stories are told and voices are heard, it can make a difference in the way all humans are viewed and treated.

Or, for events that include younger children, consider involving the kids by inviting them to play games that include experiences of folks with different abilities, like navigating an obstacle course in a wheelchair or trying to run a foot race while on crutches. Then have a conversation with the participants about how that felt and what ways they might show more care and inclusion for those with different abilities than their own.

Celebrate Other Inclusion Events

Instead of only focusing on this important topic during one week, be sure to include other days in the calendar that seek to acknowledge different aspects of inclusion, all throughout the year. Consider celebrating some of these as they come around in the first part of the year:

National Inclusion Week FAQs

What does inclusion mean?

The idea of inclusion is exhibited when someone or something is included in a group, list or some other gathering. [1]

Can inclusion be learned?

Sure! When inclusion is modeled and taught, it can be learned by children or adults. [2]

Why should we talk about inclusion?

Inclusion is a constant work in progress in education, employment and other community spaces, helping folks grow and change while making the world a better place. [3]

Is inclusion and diversity the same?

Diversity speaks about the differences between people, while inclusion speaks to the idea of inviting everyone to be part of the story and helping them feel comfortable. [4]

When did inclusion in education begin?

Inclusive education can be traced back to the late 1970s or early 1980s. [5]

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