Make Today Awareness Awareness Day


It's Disability Awareness Day in Sacramento, California. And Organ Donation Awareness Day in Northbrook, Illinois. 

In Pittsburgh, teachers and staff at a local elementary school will be wearing blue today for Autism Awareness Day. 

The U.S. Senate, which can't seem to get much else done, has named April 2013 Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Month.

The governor of Virginia has gone a step further, proclaiming today Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day. (The organization has asked that the certificate be corrected to "Day of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness.") 

There are more "awareness days" then there are days in the year. And each one, sadly, cancels the other out over time—often defeating the purpose. 

I've written here before that "awareness is not an objective." (And my students tire of me repeating it.) But the lesson was made fresh in my mind this morning by regrettably successive headlines in my local Rivertowns Patch:

Wear Denim to Bring Awareness to Sexual Assault
Police Investigate Sexual Assault at Hastings Riverfront

Awareness is fundamental to any cause, of course. But if communicators want to make a meaningful difference, we need to engage people to take action. 

Maybe I need to establish an Awareness Day for that.

FOLLOW-UP (4/23/13): Brian Lochte wants to bring "swimming awareness" into your living room!