By Ali Siemens (Staff Writer) – Email
Bullying is something that has taken place for as long as most of us can remember. Even if we cannot personally think of anyone bullied when we were in school, we can surely remember bullying in movies or television, like Gilbert Blythe, the boy who bullied Anne from Anne of Green Gables. The practice has always been prevalent on school grounds, both at elementary and high school levels.
Although bullying has been around for ages, it hasn’t been until recent years that the bullies have been backed into a corner, and communities are letting them know they have had enough.
Pink Shirt Day, the February 23 anti-bullying awareness day on initiated by the Boys and Girls club of Greater Vancouver, is evidence of this kind of community response. The day was created to raise awareness and support anti-bullying in places such as school, work, the community, and online.
Lisa Robic, a Bachelor of Social Work Practicum Student, is supporting the anti-bullying day by bringing awareness to the University of the Fraser Valley. “Essentially, the whole idea is to promote awareness of bullying and to work together to prevent it [from] happening in our community,” she said.
Why ‘Pink Shirt Day,’ though? The idea began with two boys from Nova Scotia who were upset upon hearing that one of their male classmates was being bullied. The boys decided to take a stand against the bully by purchasing 50 pink tank tops and giving them out to all of the boys in the school. By taking a stand and joining together, the group got the bully to step down.
The boys realized that it had only taken two of them to stand up to one bully, and then the ball started rolling and word spread.
The stand against bullying since that day has found huge success. According to the Pink Shirt Day website, last year 160,000 people committed to stop bullying by wearing a pink shirt. Robic confirmed: “There are hundreds of schools and businesses from all over North America participating.” Large companies such as CTV, London Drugs, The Province, and The Vancouver Sun are all proud supporters of the anti-bullying cause.
Pink Shirt Day operates in hopes that the awareness raised will translate into action. Students and co-workers are encouraged to work together to put an end to the problem of bullying rather than simply watching it take place.
Robic has brought awareness by bringing the pink with her. “So far, I have sold over 120 shirts and have more to sell on Pink Shirt Day,” she shared. The shirts are equipped with a few different slogans, such as “I commit to a bully free life” and “bullying stops here.”
All of the proceeds from buying the t-shirts go towards the Boys and Girls Club to help fund the programs they run. Robic is very happy with the response she has seen at UFV, and noted: “[the day] has become more successful than I had originally thought.”