Pink Shirt Day activities are often found in school across the county but now more and more, entire communities are backing the message of tolerance and hope.
City of Leduc
For a third annual year the City of Leduc is expanding the concept of national Pink Shirt Day bullying awareness to a city-wide effort.
“We’ve taken it beyond the one day by hosting workshops before and after Feb. 24 to create greater awareness on how to end bullying in our community,” says Donna Brock, director of Family and Community Support Services in a press statement. “Bullying of any kind should never be tolerated and we want people to understand the issue and the impacts felt whether it’s at home, school, in the workplace or on the Internet.”
Pink Shirt Day first began several years ago in Nova Scotia when two students stood up for another who was being bullied over wearing a pink shirt.
“It just caught on across the country,” said Brock.
“It’s just a way of getting people to show their support against bullying,” she added.
This year the City of Leduc is holding a series of sessions and workshops to educate the students, parents, teachers and others within the community to help raise awareness of bullying and, “the long-term impacts is can have in individuals,” said Brock.
Sessions will also arm attendees with tools and resources to move from a bystander role to something more active in way of a solution.
“I’m confident out there there are more people who don’t bully than bully,” said Brock.
The first of four sessions is primarily for parents and coaches. Author and retired NHL hockey player Patrick O’Sullivan will speak to his own abusive experiences at the hands of his sports-obsessed father and the dangers of being a “helicopter” parent.
Any minors attending this event must be accompanied by an adult. It is held Feb. 17 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Christ the King School.
The second event is again with O’Sullivan and he will be talking to students about his life experiences and the effect of bullying at the Maclab Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 18, 9 to 10 a.m. and 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Karen Kondor, public speaker on bullying prevention education, will address parents and service professionals, giving a high-level overview on the issues surrounding bullying, on Feb. 22, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Canadian Western Bank Room at the Leduc Recreation Centre. Brock says unlike O’Sullivan’s session this one must be registered for.
The fourth session takes place March 4 and is for teachers only by invitation.
Last year the city introduced Pink Bow-tie Day for businesses and employees not able to wear pink shirts but still wanted to support the initiative.
The Wetaskiwin, Millet and Maskwacis Anti-bullying Coalition
The Wetaskiwin, Millet and Maskwacis Anti-bullying Coalition is also holding a Pink Shirt Day campaign, encompassing awareness efforts within the three communities.
The coalition encourages community members to take action against bullying and reject simply being a bystander. The coalition feels by partaking in Pink Shirt Day a message of tolerance is broadcast and that helps everyone feel comfortable with who they are, whether it is simply wearing what you want or following your dreams.