Schools and communities across the country will be standing up to bullying this Wednesday (Feb. 25) for Pink Shirt Day.
Pink Shirt Day is a national awareness campaign that encourages everyone to wear something pink to show that we are all working together to prevent bullying in schools, communities and online.
In Ladysmith, this important day will be marked in many ways.
Students throughout the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District will be hosting anti-bullying activities in the classroom and in the community.
The school district will be officially launching Pink Shirt Day Wednesday at noon in Nanaimo.
“Anti-bullying awareness activities are a part of everyday education in the district,” school board chair Steve Rae said in a press release. “With awareness projects like Pink Shirt Day, it further enforces the importance of universal respect of all our students and those in the community.”
Outside of the schools, Vancouver Island InsuranceCentres (VIIC) in the Coronation Mall will be offering pink shirts and new pink wristbands that state “Respect the right to be different.”
VIIC has supplied shirts and wristbands to schools in Chemainus and offered them to Ladysmith Secondary School as well, but they do still have a limited supply of pink shirts for the public.
The shirts and wristbands are free, and any donations that are collected at the branch will go to the Haven Society in Nanaimo, which provides shelter and services such as counseling and crisis support for women in the mid-Island region who have been physically, sexually and/or emotionally abused and their children.
Anybody who comes into the VIIC office to pick up a pink shirt or wristband can also enter a draw for an autographed Stef Lang CD.
VIIC has been involved with Pink Shirt Day for several years, and branch manager Millie Stirling says they feel it’s important to raise awareness about bullying and how it affects our youth and our community.
In particular, Stirling finds that providing shirts to the schools is very powerful.
“It’s been difficult for schools to organize events because not everyone has a pink shirt or can afford to buy one,” she said. “This way, we find, especially with elementary schools but also the high schools, by providing shirts, it allows them to do a bigger event to send an anti-bullying message.”
In recent years, events around Pink Shirt Day in the schools have included Chemainus Elementary School students creating videos and Stef Lang making presentations.
“It’s been really cool to see the different programs and different ways the schools utilize the shirts,” said Stirling. “It’s been a really good thing.”
Once the students receive the shirts for Pink Shirt Day, Stirling often sees people wearing them all year round.
“Some of the kids, the pink shirts are their favourite shirts and you’ll see them worn half to death,” she said. “You see them wearing them in parades. It’s obviously an important message that they’re proud of.”
To learn more about Pink Shirt Day, visit www.pinkshirtday.ca.