Every Child Matters: Orange Shirt Day
On September 30th each year, we wear an orange shirt to remember the victims and survivors of residential schools. Known as ‘Orange Shirt’ Day, the “Every Child Matters” initiative is an annual event that gives opportunity for everyone to have meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. It is also a chance to focus on anti-racism and anti-bullying efforts as the school year kicks off.
This day is inspired by the story of Phyllis Webstad, who wore a bright orange shirt on her first day attending a B.C. residential school in 1973, but had the shirt stripped from her, never to be seen again. The color orange always reminded her of that experience and the worthlessness she felt. Orange Shirt Day is marked at a time of year when children were taken from their homes and sent to these schools. In addition to simply wearing an orange shirt on September 30, this annual event encourages Canadians to learn about the history of residential schools.