Deanne Shoyer supported International Pink Day to as a way to teach her sons about he value of diversity and a show of solidarity against discrimination.
April 9th was the international Day of Pink, so the boys and I wore pink shirts. Well, to be exact, I wore a shirt that had a lot of pink in it – best my wardrobe could come up with at short notice. If you’re not familiar with Day of Pink, it started in 2007 when two high school students in Nova Scotia, David Shepherd and Travis Price, saw a student being bullied because he was wearing a pink shirt. They decided to do something. They bought 50 pink shirts from a discount store and emailed all their classmates asking them to wear pink as a show of solidarity with their fellow student and to send a clear anti-bullying message. Their effort was a huge success at the school and the folks at Jer’s Vision were subsequently inspired to create an annual event – the International Day of Pink.
Here’s 5 reasons why I decided that the boys and I would show our support:
- I checked out their website and liked what I saw. In particular, this message stood out to me:
Discrimination comes in many forms including racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, agism and anti-semitism just to name a few. These social diseases create barriers, bullying, harassment, hate and violence. No one should have to experience the negativity created by discrimination. Day of Pink is more than just a symbol of a shared belief in celebrating diversity – it’s also a commitment to being open minded, accepting differences and learning to respect each other.
- It’s Canadian, eh! Yes, Day of Pink is a “worthwhile Canadian initiative.” In case you don’t know the back story behind that phrase, the journalist Flora Lewis once used it as a headline. In the 1980s, The New Republic’s editor, Michael Kinsley, declared it the most boring headline ever written. TNR subsequently held competitions for their readers to come up with something even more boring. As a Canadian I judge Kinsley’s pronouncement as harsh (but possibly fair).
- My children are autistic and, consequently, much more likely to be victims of bullying or become bullies themselves. It’s important to me that we participate in and support any and all anti-bullying initiatives.
- Not everywhere in Canada is as diverse as the city in which the boys and I live. But for me at least, embracing difference and seeing the value and strength of diversity in all its forms, is a core Canadian value. So I take any opportunity I can to talk to the boys about the value of diversity.
- The boys’ school was taking part – they sent home a flyer about it. I love that my boys go to a school which supports an initiative that: promotes diversity, is anti-bullying and openly seeks to combat homophobia and transphobia. How different is that to the North Carolina school that had to be shamed into letting 9 year old Grayson Bruce bring his My Little Pony backpack to school after they initially forbid him from bringing it because it was a “trigger for bullies”?
If you didn’t this year, I hope that in 2015 you will join Oliver, Owen and I and support the International Day of Pink. If you are interested in doing even more, I encourage you to check out the Jer’s Vision website. They are a youth-led, community-based, volunteer organization that runs programs designed to counter bullying and discrimination. I particularly like how they view the concept of diversity:
Our organization looks at diversity inclusively, this means we look at all forms of discrimination (homophobia, sexism, racism…) in parallel, and through their intersections (ex. how sexism and racism affects a woman of color). We are also unique because our programming reaches out not just to the marginalized/minority populations, but also to the general population (ex. educating straight people on homophobia), thereby engaging them in taking a proactive role in preventing discrimination by promoting diversity themselves.
Lastly, if you’re interested in the concepts of intersectionality and neurodiversity then I highly recommend the blog NeuroQueer, which, in its awesomeness, almost defies description. Go check it out.
Originally appeared at Small but Kinda Mighty
Photo: D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr
International School Day school flier courtesy of author