Pink T-Shirt / Anti-Bullying Day (Feb. 28, 2024)


Pink Shirt Day 2024 - Nel-Colleen-Rick-Richard.jpg

A message from Richard Jock, Chief Executive Officer; and Dr. Nel Wieman, Chief Medical Officer

​​Pink T-Shirt Day is a time to stand against the widespread public health problem of bullying in schools, workplaces, homes, and online.

The FNHA endorses this anti-bullying initiative, and we wear pink t-shirts on this day to publicly declare that we believe bullying in any form is unacceptable.

The 2024 t-shirt design is by artist Ta'kiid Aayaa (Corey Bulpitt) from the Haida Na7ikun-Raven Clan. Net sales proceeds go to anti-bullying programs.

Let's Lift Each Other Up with Lateral Kindness

Our Elders teach that we are all connected, that what happens to one happens to all, and that being kind to each other is essential for healthy relationships, families, and communities. We honour our Elders and their teachings when we treat each other with Lateral Kindness and stand against bullying – or Lateral Violence, as it's known in First Nations circles.  

We've written and spoken about Lateral Kindness before; this message reminds us of the importance of lifting each other up by being kind, respectful, and patient.

We've all seen how deeply unkindness can affect people's health and lives. We've heard the tragic news about suicides or homicides that cite “bullying" as a contributing factor – and we've also heard about how kind words and actions can help bring healing or comfort.

As First Nations people in leadership positions, standing against bullying is especially important to us. We strive to “lead with kindness and empathy," as former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern puts it, and to cultivate within the FNHA a culture of humility and safety. A culture of humility is one in which each person is acknowledged for their gifts and finds joy in using them to serve their community. A culture of safety is one in which each person feels welcomed, safe, and supported to bring their full being into their relations, and to have challenging conversations without fear of repercussion.

That's the ideal. Unfortunately, despite all the publicity bullying receives these days, it's still a major problem in our schools, workplaces, homes, and on social media. We have to do more than wear pink shirts one day a year. We really need to think about – and do – what we can to practise Lateral Kindness and stand up against Lateral Violence.

The FNHA is committed to this, and we hope you will join us in standing up for kindness and against bullying. Most, if not all, First Nations people know from experience that bullying/unkindness, whether in the form of racism or lateral violence, is harmful to our health in every way. We're all healing from the traumatic effects of racism, discrimination, and genocidal policies and systems such as the “Indian Residential 'School' System," the “Sixties' Scoop," and the “Indian Reserve System." Knowing this, being kind to each other should be a given.

If you are experiencing bullying, and need help or someone to talk to, you can call the 24-Hour KUU-US Crisis Line at 1-800-588-8717 or the Kids' Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. For more information about using Lateral Kindness to address Lateral Violence, see these resources:

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