Pink Shirt Day is on February 22nd: What it is, and why it matters.
By Avreet Jagdev
If you grew up in Canada, you might have heard of Pink Shirt Day. It’s also called Anti-Bullying Day, and takes place every year on February 22nd. As the name suggests, it is a day on which people wear pink shirts to take a stand against bullying.
Bullying is a huge issue — it impacts one in five children, and has detrimental effects on everyone involved, including its victims, perpetrators and even bystanders. Children who are victims of bullying are prone to experiencing mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, which can often persist into their adult lives. In addition, they are likely to have decreased interest in their academics, resulting in lower performance at school.
Those who bully others are also impacted negatively by bullying. Bullies are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs in their lifetime, and may display violent behaviour such as engaging in physical fights and committing crimes. Even those who simply witness bullying can face negative impacts from it — including poor mental health and skipping out on school.
Evidently, bullying is an issue that impacts many Canadians, and needs to be solved — which is why Pink Shirt Day is so important. It is a day on which students, teachers, parents, and community members alike stand in solidarity with those who have been bullied, making this statement by wearing pink shirts to their schools and workplace.
Although Pink Shirt Day is now a national movement, it sparked from just a small act of kindness at a Nova Scotia high school. After a ninth-grade boy was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school, two of his classmates decided to take a stand. They organized a protest by giving out pink shirts to all the boys at their school. On February 22nd, many students came to school wearing pink shirts, standing with the boy who was bullied. The bully wasn’t heard from again.
This story tells us an important lesson: when people decide to do the right thing by standing up against bullying, a lot of positive change can occur. This has been made clear since the initial event, because a small act of kindness became an anti-bullying movement that has grown across Canada and even other parts of the world. In addition, it has evolved from just an initiative at schools to something that is commemorated at workplaces and within the community.
However, bullying is still an ongoing issue. As of today, bullying impacts the majority of children in Canada – at some point in most kids’ lives, they will either engage in bully behaviour or be the victim of bullying. We know the consequences of bullying can be long-lasting and serious, so it is important for all of us to contribute to take action.
There are many ways you can do this: by calling out bullying when you see it, talking openly with your friends, family, and classmates about the issue, and wearing pink on February 22nd to show that you care.