This week, you’ll likely see a lot of pink around the city. Not because stores and residents are still in the Valentine’s Day after glow, but because it’s to bring awareness to the province-wide anti-bullying Pink Shirt Day, taking place on Wednesday, February 22nd. Wearing a pink shirt helps to show your support for anti-bullying. The idea originated in Nova Scotia in 2007 after a high school boy was beaten up for wearing a pink shirt to school. Shortly after the incident, his friends all arrived at the school wearing pink shirts in a show of solidarity and to give a strong message to the bullies.
Bullying is pervasive in all levels of our schools today and the statistics speak for themselves. At least one in three adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied recently. Those who have been bullied are at a higher risk of suicide, according to Statistics Canada. And the rate of discrimination experienced among students who identify as LGBTQ are three times higher than heterosexual youth.
The sad thing is that it’s not something that goes away once you become an adult. In fact, forty percent of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis, according to the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. This is a real big problem and the best thing we can do is continue to bring awareness to the problem and ensure our kids get involved in this as well.
I’m so proud that my boys will be participating in Pink Shirt Day this year at their school. Luckily since they were in kindergarten, they have been involved in anti-bullying campaigns and have helped others who have been affected. I think the best thing they can learn is kindness and empathy.
As the only Asian in first grade, I was bullied incessantly by another girl. It got so bad that my parents pulled me out halfway through the school year. To this day, I still have so many mixed feelings about that experience. Angry that I didn’t stand up for myself but sad that I was singled out for being a visible minority.
I encourage all of you to participate this week. To support this message, I’ve teamed up with Redfish Kids Clothing, who are offering new limited edition hot pink #Courage tees (kids sizes are $32, adult sizes are $36) and a matching ball cap ($18, not shown) with all proceeds going to Pink Shirt Day charities including the CKNW Orphan’s Fund and anti-bullying campaigns. The Redfish Kids #Courage tee collection helps share the brand’s message of empowering kids to make strong and bold choices, giving them courage to make decisions and stand by what they believe in. I think this is such a beautiful message that should be shared and my boys and I couldn’t be more proud to stand with Redfish Kids against all forms of bullying.