Director’s Message for Day of Pink at HWDSB – April 8, 2021
International Day of Pink is an annual event to raise awareness and commit to ending the spread of bullying, hatred, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and transmisogyny within our schools and our communities.
Day of Pink is always celebrated on the second Wednesday of April, which is April 14, 2021. Unfortunately, this important day for our Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ students, families, and staff, takes place within the newly created provincial April break. To continue in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s tradition of raising awareness on Day of Pink, we will be recognizing the date on Thursday, April 8, 2021. HWDSB is also committing to social media awareness over the break on April 14 and encourage you to do so in support of our students, families, and colleagues.
You may notice that we recognize Pink Shirt Day in February and International Day of Pink in April. The days have similar origins, but are distinct: Pink Shirt Day has a general anti-bullying focus, while International Day of Pink focuses on homophobic and transphobic bullying.
Day of Pink was started in Nova Scotia in 2007, when two Grade 12 students saw a Grade 9 student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school. Bullies harassed the boy, called him a homosexual for wearing a pink shirt, and threatened to beat him up. In response, the two Grade 12 students, David Shepherd and Travis Price, bought and distributed 50 pink shirts. They encouraged peers to arrive to school wearing pink the next day to stand in solidarity with the Grade 9 student.
Even though we have come a long way since 2007, our Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ students and staff members continue to face hardships. Thankfully, efforts such as Day of Pink do a tremendous job of bringing attention to these worthy causes. In fact, we recently celebrated International Transgender Day of Visibility by raising the Transgender Flag at the Education Centre alongside transgender teacher and Equity Consultant Mitch Borsc.
We understand that gestures and celebratory days can only take us so far, which is why I want to acknowledge the importance of celebrating diversity and inclusion on a daily basis. These conversations, lessons, and teachings do not have to be limited to a few days of the year and I encourage staff to always combat forms of hatred and speak openly with students.
Thank you for considering to wear pink on Thursday and for fostering an environment where kindness and inclusion are the norm. Please share your participation on social media using the hashtag #DayofPink and tagging @HWDSB_Climate.
Let us continue to work together to make our schools safe and accepting places for all.
Director of Education
Day of Pink Website
Addressing Inclusion – Effectively Challenging Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia
Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Slurs
OK2BME Resources for Schools and Classrooms
Shout Out Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Heterosexism
New Brunswick LGBTQ Inclusive Education Resource