Did you wear a pink shirt today? Today (February 25) is Pink Shirt Day in Canada, a day devoted to promoting collective action against bullying in our schools, communities and online. The origins of the day, as described by the Globe and Mail, are as follows:
The tradition of wearing pink shirts emerged in September, 2007, after a Nova Scotia high-school student was targeted with homophobic insults for wearing a pink shirt to school. Two Grade 12 students, Travis Price and David Shepherd, organized their schoolmates to wear pink in solidarity.
My favourite #PinkShirtDay tweet was from Manitoba’s Minister of Jobs and Economy and for the City of Winnipeg, MLA Kevin Chief, who posted a picture with his two children and commented:
— Kevin Chief (@kevin_chief) February 25, 2015
It’s not hard to get in the spirit of a day dedicated to eliminating bullying but wearing a pink shirt doesn’t effect the kind of societal change that is desirable. For that kind of change to occur, more is needed.
Another tweet that caught my attention today is from another Manitoban, Chris Loewen:
— Chris Loewen (@loewenchris) February 25, 2015
This is encapsulates the meaning of the day for me. We need to each acknowledge our own role in the problem of bullying and take responsibility for calling out the bullies when we see them. Unless our collective support for days like Pink Shirt Day translate into individuals taking responsibility and speaking out, we can’t expect anything to really change.