Pink power in anti-bullying day

This week's editorial.

Pink was once seen as a power colour.

Considered a diminutive of red, or a warlike colour, it was favoured by men in the 18th century. It was only after the 1950s or later that pink became more associated with feminity and was the distinguishing colour for a baby girl. This ultimately led to the situation in 2007 when a boy in Nova Scotia was bullied for wearing pink, prompting the rise of Pink Shirt Day against bullying.

Thanks to that effort, the colour pink is seeing a restoration of its powerful energy.

With Pink Shirt Day coming up on Feb. 24, people around the South Cariboo – not just in schools but in the community – will wear pink. They will take a stand against bullying, which has expanded its reach from the schoolyard to cyberspace. While the classic schoolyard bullying of children being shoved around and having their lunch money stolen is more a caricature now, bullying still persists. And the rise of the internet allowed for the creation of cyberbullying an insidious form of bullying that can allow the perpetrators to stay nameless and faceless.

Canada has the ninth highest rate of bullying amongst 13-year-olds, according to Statistics Canada. Across the country, close to half of Canadian parents report their child has been a victim of bullying at least once while LGBTQ children are three times more likely to be victimized.

It’s up to us to model the behaviour we want to see for the next generation.

On Feb. 24, South Cariboo students will learn about the negative effects of bullying and positive ways to combat it. At Peter Skene Ogden Secondary, students will take those lessons even further by looking at ways to help rehabilitate bullies rather than punish them.

This is truly encouraging to see. If we’re to exorcise bullying from our schools it only follows we should work to do the same in everyday life. Consider carefully what we post online, how we interact with others on a daily basis and make an effort to reach out to those who seem lonely.

Only when people feel isolated can they be bullied. Wearing a pink shirt is a sign of solidarity.

All of this is part of the 100 Mile House spirit already. This is a community where friendliness, a helping hand and an open heart is a given. A place that welcomes newcomers and strangers alike.

But this is something we need to work to protect, as with anything we value.

Maybe one day our children won’t have to mark Pink Shirt Day at all. That’s something worth working towards.

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