Everyone can admit to being bullied in their lives, but here’s something harder to admit: that everyone has been a bully in their life too.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the International Day of Pink. On April 9, participants everywhere will wear pink shirts to raise awareness in hopes of stopping bullying, homophobia, and transphobia.
The International Day of Pink, which falls on the second Wednesday of April, was created by the student volunteers of Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative. The students were inspired by the story of a bisexual Nova Scotia teen who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt, and two straight students who showed up to school with pink shirts to support and stand up for their classmate. What started as a small action of positivity soon grew to be a day to remember that positive actions make a difference.
“The cool thing about the Day of Pink is that it’s our campaign, your campaign — it’s what you make the Day of Pink to be,” said Jeremy Dias, Executive Director of Jer’s Vision. “And so we hope that people will take the Day of Pink and make it their own.”
Since facing discrimination and bullying from students and school officials after coming out in high school, Jeremy Dias won Canada’s second-largest human rights settlement. Jeremy used the money he received to found Jer’s Vision and the Jeremy Dias Scholarship. Jer’s Vision is a youth-run initiative which works to stop bullying in schools, and the Jeremy Dias Scholarship, is awarded to a student who has taken initiative to address discrimination in their school or community.
Youth volunteers from Jer’s Vision in Ottawa help run activities and events for the Day of Pink. Dias explained further, “I’ve been to so many schools, and people do it in all kinds of different ways. Some schools focus on homophobic and transphobic violence, if that’s a problem at their school. Other schools focus on sexism, others focus on intercultural issues and others focus on being more welcoming to newcomers.”
Many students hold activities or events for the Day of Pink. For the crowd no longer in school, the annual Day of Pink Gala will take place in Ottawa on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. The event is free and features special guests Carol Todd (Amanda Todd Legacy), Gavin Crawford (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), and Laureen Harper.
“The Day of Pink is this open chalkboard, and you can write whatever you want on it,” said Dias. “It’s all community driven, it’s all student-driven.”
For more information on the Day of Pink Gala, go to: http://bit.ly/1kKl7iL