Feb 28: Pink Shirt Day

February 26, 2018

Pinkshirtday

Each year, Canadians wear pink on the last Wednesday in February to take a stand against bullying. CAPE invites all its members to don a pink shirt on February 28 and show their support for a harassment-free society.

Pink Shirt Day began in 2007, when two teenagers, David Shepherd and Travis Price, stood up for a Grade 9 student who was being bullied simply for wearing a pink shirt. The next day, Shepherd and Price distributed over 50 pink t-shirts to their fellow male students. The message was clear: bullying won’t be tolerated.

This incredible demonstration of solidarity resonated across Canada. Today, Pink Shirt Day is celebrated across Canada and internationally. The annual observance is a key opportunity to promote anti-bullying efforts and teach empathy, compassion and kindness.

This year, the organization behind Pink Shirt Day is putting the focus on cyberbullying:

In today’s digital world, it can be impossible to escape online bullying, whether it takes the shape of harassment, spreading rumours, sharing embarrassing information or threats. This year, Pink Shirt Day is encouraging others to combat cyberbullying by thinking twice before posting something negative, and instead using the internet to spread kindness - because we know that Nice Needs No Filter!”

Cyberbullying can be especially pernicious, as it offers a way for bullies to target their victims 24/7.

To encourage kindness and amiability on social media, Pink Shirt Day is encouraging Canadians to use the hashtag #PinkItForward on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For each hashtag, Coast Capital will donate $1 towards bullying prevention programs for youth in British Columbia.

One in three teenagers are affected by bullying. LGBT youth experience bullying at a much higher rate than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts: 82% have experienced verbal harassment because of their sexual orientation and 64% because of their gender expression. Fifty-five per cent of LGBT youth have experienced cyberbullying.

According to the 2017 Public Service Employee Annual Survey, 22% of public service employees reported being the victim of harassment on the job in the past 2 years.

For anti-bullying resources for youth, parents and teachers, please check out the Pink Shirt Day website. The Community and Social Services department of the government of Alberta also has a number of great bullying-prevention tools aimed at youth and parents, including fact sheets dealing with homophobic and transphobic bullying.