Pink Shirt Day, an international day bringing awareness to anti-bullying, was celebrated at KW Habilitation and across the Region. Started in Nova Scotia by high school students in support of a male classmate who was bullied for wearing pink, they started a movement in support of those who are bullied nationally and internationally. Today, Pink Shirt Day is celebrated in 180 countries.
On Wednesday, February 27th, KW Habilitation showed their support by wearing pink, learning about the cause and effect of bullying and listening to public speakers explain what each and everyone one of us can do to end bullying.
Pink Shirt Day symbolizes that we, as a society, will not tolerate bullying. And as a society, we will not discriminate based on perceived differences but will instead celebrate what makes us the same. We all have the same heart. The goal of this day is to build inclusion amongst all people by encouraging happiness and creating positive learning experiences for everyone.
In the days leading up to the event, members of the Vibe were busy getting ready. By selling official Pink Shirts in Grant’s Café we were able to raise awareness not only within our community but also the community at large. A variety of activities and presentations were planned to help us learn more about the effects of bullying and what we can do to support our peers if they are being bullied.
Through games of B.I.N.G.O., Spin the Wheel and others, people had the opportunity to learn about verbal and physical bullying, what emotions can stem from this and what it looks like. One activity, in particular, drew a lot of attention. In it, each person was given a paper heart, and as part of the activity, people were to say something negative or meanwhile folding the heart into a ball. After a few repeats of this, our hearts were crinkled and not as strong as they were in the beginning. This taught us that repetitive bullying can hurt someone on the inside where we can’t see.
In the afternoon, Officer Lloyd from Waterloo Region Police Services joined us for a presentation and interactive discussion about when you need help and how to find that help in the community.
Those who joined us for the day felt supported by their peers. Individuals recognized that people who have suffered from bullying in the past are not alone, and that there is help and support available. Wearing pink on this day sends a strong message to everyone that others care.
Overall, the day was a great success. We were able to celebrate differences, recognize how we are the same, and eat pink donuts. Can it get any better than that?