Monday - September 30, 2019 is Orange Shirt Day.
A day on which we commemorate the thousands of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children who were removed from their homes at this time of the year and forced to attend residential schools.
Wearing an orange shirt and promoting the slogan, Every Child Matters, is an affirmation of our commitment to raise awareness of the residential school experience and to ensure that every child matters as we focus on our hope for a better future in which children are empowered to help each other.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in the spring of 2013. It grew out of Phyllis' story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually.
The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. It also gives teachers time to plan events which will include children, as we want to ensure we are passing the story and learning on to the next generations.
Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for First Nations, churches, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.