April 8, 2020 marks the annual International Day of Pink. This is a day of action for communities across the world to remain united in celebrating diversity while raising greater awareness in stopping homophobic, transphobic and all forms of bullying. The Day of Pink is an annual event celebrated on every second Wednesday in April.
OPSEU President Warren ‘Smokey’ Thomas says all OPSEU members should work together to ensure that supports are in place for people who are susceptible to many forms of bullying and harassment. “We are currently living in unprecedented times given our current state of world affairs. The COVID-19 pandemic has everyone coming together to do their part to ensure that we beat this virus. Let’s use this moment to inspire us in eliminating all forms of hate and discrimination.”
Society has come far in achieving rights and acceptance for people within gender and sexually diverse populations but there are still forces that aim to threaten this progress. Statistics continue to show that children in the TBLGIAPQQ2S (trans, bisexual, lesbian, gay, intersex, asexual, pansexual, queer, questioning, two spirited) community continue to have higher rates of depression, mental health struggles, poverty and suicide.
“Let’s work proactively to develop solutions that pave the way towards better health and well-being especially for our youth,” said Morgen Veres, Co-Chair of OPSEU’s Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel.
The Day of Pink started in 2007 at a Nova Scotia high school after a young student was being bullied, for among other things, wearing a pink-shirt. Two weeks later, and in a sign of solidarity, four students decided to buy over 200 shirts for distribution at the school, one of which was given to the bully. This event inspired a nation. Soon after, anti-bullying days were proclaimed by a number of governments.
In 2007, Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald proclaimed the second Thursday at the start of each school year as Stand Up Against Bullying Day. In 2008, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell declared it as the last Wednesday in February. Later that same year, the original students from Nova Scotia went on to help start the DayOfPink.org website. They worked tirelessly to promote the Day of Pink national campaign, which included endorsements, support and educational based programming.
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