Thursday, July 24, 2014

‘Day of Pink’ challenge issued

The local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association is issuing a challenge to the rest of the community—to stand up against bullying and show your support by participating in this year’s “International Day of Pink” on April 9.
“It’s a day to promote anti-bullying—to stand up and actually make a visible statement against bullying,” explained Nancy Daley-Fulton.

She added it’s also a day aimed against discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia in schools and communities.
The “Day of Pink” got its start in Nova Scotia back in 2007.
“David Shepherd and Travis Price saw a student being bullied in their high school and supported the student by getting everyone at school to wear pink in support of him,” Daley-Fulton explained.
The initiative resulted in an effort to support peers internationally with resources and ways to make their schools safer, she added.
The local CMHA, as well as many schools, businesses, and organizations in the area, have participated in the “Day of Pink” for the last few years.
But Daley-Fulton wants it to become even more widespread.
“People have been really supportive of it, but we’d like everyone to get involved and understand what it’s all about,” she remarked.
“So when we go up to someone and we’re all dressed in pink, they don’t say, ‘Gee, why is everyone wearing pink today?’
“We want everyone to know why people are wearing pink,” Daley-Fulton stressed.
As such, she wants local businesses, organizations, and individuals to do anything they can to support the “Day of Pink.”
“It can be so much more than wearing a pink shirt,” Daley-Fulton said.
“You can decorate your store window. If you drive a delivery truck, put a pink bow on it.
“If you’re getting your kids ready for schools that day, dress them in pink if you can.”
The Fort Frances branch of the CMHA will be handing out pink carnations that day and decorating their offices.
Meanwhile, Daley-Fulton is thrilled district schools have jumped on board with the “Day of Pink” to promote anti-bullying among students.
“What it does is it makes us look at the different types of bullying that occur, and it happens all around us and in many, many different forms,” she remarked.
“It is a day for us to say, ‘This is not right—all people need to be included.’
“Diversity is a really positive thing,” Daley-Fulton added. “And because we, maybe, don’t approve of something for our own life doesn’t mean that we have the right to pass judgement.
“Acceptance is important,” she stressed. “So what we want to do is see everyone in our community stand up and support this on that day.
“We want to see Fort Frances turn pink.”
Daley-Fulton noted the “Day of Pink” offers a good message for everyone—from young to old.
“I have to believe that this day accomplishes what it sets out to do,” she said. “For nothing else, what it does is make people ask why we are wearing pink.
“And then you have an opportunity to say, ‘I am against bullying and this is my way of supporting that movement.’
“So we are able to educate people and hopefully make a difference,” she reasoned.
And she thinks it’s a great way for the community to come together.
“To say that everyone deserves to be included—that we accept people for who they are,” Daley-Fulton said.
“There is nobody among us who really has the right to pass judgement on another,” she reiterated.
“We don’t know what each other’s histories are.
“You’re okay just the way you are and I’m okay just the way I am,” she noted.
Daley-Fulton, meanwhile, wants to further the discussion about anti-bullying by having people submit stories about their experiences with bullying.
The submission could include:
•What was/is it like to be bullied? What does it feel like?
•If you were a bully, when did you realize you were bullying? And how did that feel?
Send your submissions to the Fort Frances Times (116 First St. E., P9A 1K2) or the local CMHA (P.O. Box 446, Fort Frances, P9A 3M8).

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