February 24 is Pink Shirt Day, also known as Anti-Bullying Day. Celebrated on the last Wednesday of each February, it is a day to come together by wearing our pink shirts to take a stand against bullying.
Pink Shirt Day began in 2007 in Nova Scotia by two Grade 12 students, David Shepherd and Travis Price. To show their support and solidarity for a Grade 9 student who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school, these two students distributed pink shirts around their school for everyone to wear. By this one act of kindness, they started a powerful movement.
“Bullying should never be tolerated, in any part of our society,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Every person is deserving of respect. OPSEU/SEFPO was founded on this principle, and we will always fight for this.”
Bullying can take many forms, including verbal, physical, and social. With the rise of popularity in social media platforms, cyberbullying has become one of the most common forms in our everyday life. The effects of bullying are mentally, emotionally, and physically damaging and can lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Pink Shirt Day shines light on the effects of bullying and sends a strong message to all those affected that they are not alone.
“I’m proud to be part of a union of kind, compassionate people who dedicate their working lives to helping children and adults in our education, justice, developmental, child care, child protection systems and more,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “To anyone suffering from the effects of bullying, there is a large community of people here to support you.”
Every year, OPSEU/SEFPO members wear their pink shirts in schools, workplaces, and in their communities. This year, we continue the tradition by wearing our pink shirts and taking pictures in them to spread kindness.
“OPSEU/SEFPO Education workers are there for students every day, stopping bullying where we see it and lending a kind ear or giving comfort when students need it,” said Sandra Cadeau, OPSEU/SEFPO Sector 3 (Boards of Education and Cultural Institutions) Chair. “It means a lot for them to see the solidarity of pink shirts, setting the example that bullying is never okay.”
Follow OPSEU/SEFPO Sector 3’s Facebook page for Pink Shirt Day updates!
Pink Shirt Day is one of two important anti-discrimination solidarity days celebrated in 2021. Keep your shirts nearby to join us on April 14 for the International Day of Pink.