Tomorrow is pink shirt day.
The goal of tomorrow is to raise awareness and funds for anti-bullying campaigns. The story behind this day is actually pretty fantastic: “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.” (https://www.pinkshirtday.ca/about)
A lot of good can potentially come from tomorrow. But a “movement” without action means nothing. Sadly, like so many things, this movement has become, for some, a publicity stunt, a look-good company initiative that ultimately results in no change. Wearing a pink shirt doesn’t end bullying. Wearing a pink shirt won’t dry up tears or mend a broken heart or convince a hurting person that they matter. Wearing a pink shirt won’t erase things that have been done. Wearing a pink shirt won’t change people’s perceptions of you.
So please, before you put your shirt on tomorrow, think of why you’re doing it. What change will be made by your choice of shirt colour? Whose life will be made better because of this day and because of this movement? Let tomorrow be more than simply wearing a different coloured shirt…let it be something that changes the day for someone. Let it be a reminder to brighten someone’s week. Let it be something that changes someone’s life…because the smallest acts of kindest truly do make all the difference.
Feeling stuck on how to make this day matter, especially if you’re not especially aware of bullying in your immediate environment? Here’s some ideas:
- Tell someone who you respect or admire that you really look up to them and why! This is so uplifting to hear and can really help carry someone through rough times, especially if they’re being bullied and being made to feel insignificant.
- Stand up for someone. Bullies are so sneaky and often the bullying is occurring in small, almost seemingly innocuous ways that compile over time. Be on the lookout for these sneaky, daily occurrences and be willing to walk away from conversations, speak up, or change the subject.
- Reevaluate your friends list. Are you aligning yourself with solid, truly great, kind hearted people? Or are some of the people you spend time with displaying questionable behaviour that could easily drag you down?
- Consider volunteering for an organization that works to combat bullying or assist victims if this is something that is close to your heart!
- If you’re part of a leadership team, please take a good, hard look at programs that your organization has in place and really evaluate whether they’re working. So often, workplaces claim they “don’t tolerate bullying”, yet reports are swept under the rug or pushed aside. So often, there’s well intentioned peer support programs or open door policies to help employees, but the people the employees would need to go to have proven to not be trustworthy. Along with these programs, please ensure you’re doing reviews of their effectiveness.
How will you choose to stand up to bullying today?