Has your child ever been bullied? Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever acted or spoken in a way that could be perceived as hurtful to others? We all have.
That’s why it’s so important to talk—and to think—about what we can do about it. Let’s start by wearing pink and launching an ongoing family discussion this Wednesday, April 9, on the International Day of Pink. Millions of people from far and wide will be donning pink to celebrate diversity and to take a stand against bullying.
The group behind the international campaign is from right here in the city. Jer’s Vision is an anti-bullying organization that works with schools and youth communities across Canada and beyond to stop bullying, homophobia and transphobia. The Ottawa-based organization manages International Day of Pink and supports over 7.2 million participants.
Anti-bullying activist Jeremy Dias is the guy behind it. “Bullying is not so simple,” he points out. “It is a complex social behavior that takes many forms. For some, it is online, for others in person. Sometimes it is homophobia, transphobia, sexism, or racism. But what is common is that it is an experience that touches our humanity.”
In fact, the pink movement started in 2007 with a couple of straight high school students in Nova Scotia. They intervened when they noticed a gay student wearing a pink shirt being bullied. But they didn’t stop there. Wanting to do more to prevent homophobic and transphobic bullying, the two teens went out and bought their own pink shirts and got everyone at school to arrive, a few days later, wearing pink. It was – and is – a show of solidarity in pink. The message makes a difference.
The message remains clear—and pink: Anybody can be a bully or can be victimized by bullies. United, we can stop it. We can make a difference, each one of us, if we stand up together against bullying.
As parents, this is a great time to talk to our kids about tolerance and inclusion. Why not make a pact, together, to speak and act with more respect for others? At family story time, you can also read some diversity-themed books. For the younger set, dayofpink.org recommends Yangsook Choi’s The Name Jar, Sharon Dennis Wyeth’s Something Beautiful, Even Bunting’s Fly Away Home, Harvery Fierstein’s The Sissy Duckling and Patricia Polacco’s Mr. Lincoln’s Way.