Up until 2011, males would not be caught dead wearing pink as it was a noted symbol of femininity. That has changed. Today it is common to see even the extreme ‘jocks’ like hockey players and cowboys flexing their muscles in pink shirts on television and in public. Originally started in 2007 as a protest against a bullying incident at a Nova Scotia high school, on this day participants are asked to wear pink to symbolize a stand against bullying. Supporters in Wetaskiwin jumped to the cause in 2011 and in February, 2012, more than 750 supporters throughout Wetaskiwin and region adorned pink t-shirts for the 1st time.
The t-shirts are a symbolic and visible method to take a year-round stand against bullying in this community. The Wetaskiwin Coalition decided the Pink Shirt Day would be the best way to spread the anti-bullying message and that bullying would not be tolerated in our community schools, our playgrounds, our businesses, our homes and on our streets.
Interested schools, businesses, organizations and individuals were challenged to show their support by purchasing and wearing the pink $10.00 T-shirts. The response was overwhelming. The first shipment sold out very quickly. A second order was placed and almost every one of the 784 t-shirts that were ordered, were sold.
This important reminder about the detrimental effects that bullying has will be re-introduced on Local Pink Shirt Day during the National Pink Shirt Day on February 25, 2015. The deadline to order local area Pink Shirt Day T-shirts is Friday, January 23rd. For more information or to order shirts, contact Debbie Pearson at the Boys and Girls Club: 780-352-4643 ext. 32, or go to their website to get the order form. T-shirts are $10 each.
Recently, television reports have revealed that bullying can end up in death. Bullying is cruel, vicious and devastating for the victim. It has been known to instill long-term effects that stay into adulthood and in some cases, even lead to suicide.
There are many types of bullying; cyber-bullying, psychological abuse, school bullying, sexual bullying, verbal abuse, bystander support of bullies, character assassination, gossiping, humiliation, psychological manipulation, sarcasm, social rejection, taunting, and teasing, and yelling. It’s hard to know just how much impact the Pink Shirt Day has with altering the behavior of those who do the bullying, but the increased awareness, at the very least, lets potential victims know there is support if they need it.
The Wetaskiwin/Millet/Masckwacis Pink Shirt Day Coalition includes members from Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools, HUB Mental Health Capacity Building Project, Wetaskiwin RCMP Detachment, City of Wetaskiwin, Town of Millet, Ermineskin Schools and the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin. The Coalition website can be reached through two web addresses, www.pinkshirtwetaskiwin.com or www.pinkshirtmillet.com