In 2007, “David Shepherd, Travis Price, and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied [for wearing a pink shirt]…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new Grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school. ‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’ So Mr. Shepherd and some other headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag. As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled. The bullies were never heard from again.”
Source: The Globe & Mail article that inspired CKNW Orphans’ Fund Pink Shirt Day. Taken from http://pinkshirtday.ca/about-us/
On February 22, 2017, the CKNW Orphans’ Fund encourages everyone to wear a pink shirt to symbolize that they will not tolerate bullying of any sort in their community — at school, in the workforce, at home, or even on the Internet.
Outside of my studies at UBC, I have spent the last five years working with children at Kumon Learning Centres to help them develop strong reading and math skills. As a result, I regularly interact with children between ages five to eighteen. Often, children come in to Kumon sharing exciting stories of what their friends were doing on the playground, or eagerly sprouting facts from a new and exciting lesson on dinosaurs. However, to this day, my most memorable moment at the Learning Centre was when a child asked if we would ever bully him.
In an uncharacteristically quiet moment of work, the child that I had known for several months suddenly put down his pencil, looked up from his work, and asked if we, the instructors, would ever be mean to him. Shocked and a little taken-aback, I reassured him that we would never do or say anything to hurt him. After some gentle questioning, he revealed that he asked this question because “the kids are school were mean to [him].” He was too young to even know what the word ‘bully’ meant, but he was already feeling the effects of the harassment. In that particular incident, we were able to connect with his parents and get to the bottom of what was happening at school. However, not every child is so lucky.
How can you help?
One way is to wear a pink shirt on Pink Shirt Day to show your support for this anti-bullying campaign. The CKNW Orphans’ Fund and CKNW radio station also collect donations for anti-bullying programs. 100% of the net proceeds are distributed to organizations such as Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland, Canadian Red Cross BC, and the Boys and Girls Club of Western Canada. These non-profits support the development of healthy self-esteem, empathy, compassion, and kindness in Canadian youth. I have personally volunteered for programs such as Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver as an older mentor to elementary school youth and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to see and hear about the changes in my little buddy.
You can also show your support on social media by tagging all posts with the hashtag #PinkShirtPromise. Between February 6-22, Shaw and Coast Capital will donate $1 to the CKNW Orphans’ Fund in British Columbia to support bully prevention programs.
Together we can make a difference.