For one day in February each year, people across the province don pink to take a stand against bullying.
But while the single day is designed to show solidarity, students are being encouraged to “think pink” 365 days a year.
Luc Mullinder, project leader for the Red Cross’ Imagine No Bullying campaign shared the message with students during a Pink Day rally organized by Clive Draycott School. The event brought students from Clive Draycott, Lumsden Elementary and South Shore School, as well as community members, together at the K+S Community Hall in Bethune March 3.
Mullinder recognized while one day is designated for Pink Day, the feeling is one that should be held all year.
“Pink Day is the symbol of hope for a lot of people that are going through some tough times, so they see you wearing these Pink Day shirts on Monday, they see you wearing them the next week and they see you wearing them on more than just one day, they understand that Pink Day is in our hearts every single day,” said Mullinder. “Yes we celebrate it on Feb. 22. There’s days we celebrate helping other people out. There’s days we celebrate respect. There’s days we celebrate bullying prevention. But Pink Day, that feeling of supporting your classmates, being there for one another and being someone’s hero, we want you guys to think about that every single day.”
The project leader shared the message in response to a question asking why the Red Cross Pink Day shirts for 2017 were black with pink.
“Be a leader, not a follower,” encouraged Bethune’s own Chelsie Christison. Christison, a Red Cross youth ambassador, shared her own story of bullying with the gathered students, speaking of how she became to feel invisible and isolated by former friends at her high school.
The youth ambassador explained that she tells her story not to garner sympathy, but to inspire students to speak out and to show other youth that it can get better.
“Stand up for yourself, be proud of yourself and never let someone make you feel less than you really are,” she encouraged the students.
Christison noted because of her own experience, she now goes out of her way to make others feel included.
The event also featured guest speaker Dan Clark, of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Clark rallied students to use their power, which he defined as the ability to make something happen, and make a helpful choice instead of a hurtful one.
He recognized that through the rally, the youth have taken the first step — making the choice to stop bullying.
Following the speakers, youth stayed to partake in different activities — for students in grades 5 to 8, activities included a photo booth with pink props and a large poster for handprint pledges.