THE STORY OF PINK SHIRT DAY
Pink Shirt Day, celebrated in February in Canada, aims to raise awareness around bullying and funds to support programs fostering self-esteem and empathy in children. The international movement has a great Canadian origin story. It started in the small community of Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, when two Grade 12 students took a stand against an incident of bullying.
Travis Price and David Sheppard noticed a Grade 9 student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. Like many bullying incidents, this could have easily gone unacknowledged. Instead, Travis and David decided to do something. They scooped up some pink T-shirts and encouraged students at their school to wear pink clothes in solidarity with the boy who had been bullied. Out of the 1,000 students attending their school, 850 got on board by wearing pink.
The successful movement quickly spread to neighbouring schools and well beyond.
BULLYING AFFECTS EVERYONE
It’s likely that each one of us knows someone (either a child or an adult) who has been or is being bullied. According to Statistics Canada, one in three Canadian teens in school have reported being recently bullied. And bullying isn’t confined to school halls and classrooms. It can also affect people online and at work. According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 40% of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis.
When it comes to bullying, no one wins. In the short-term, bullying can be detrimental to both the individual being bullied and the bullier. The effects of childhood bullying are linked to poorer mental health and well-being, and the harms can linger well into adulthood.
WHEN IS PINK SHIRT DAY
Pink Shirt Day occurs in Canada on the last Wednesday of February every year. In 2012, the United Nations declared May 4th as Anti-Bullying Day, launching pink-themed events worldwide.
Since it’s origin, the idea has only grown each year, with worldwide support and participation. Countries across the globe are now organizing anti-bullying fundraisers of their own, including Japan, New Zealand, China, Panama, and numerous others. In fact, last year alone, people in almost 180 countries shared their support of Pink Shirt Day through social media posts and donations.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND A PINK SHIRT
With the movement reaching worldwide, you can find shirts just about anywhere. With anti-bullying messages and encouragement to just be kind, or plain pink shirts, it is simply a way to show that you will stand up to bullying!