B.C. Premier John Horgan, Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside, and Carol Todd, parent and founder of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society, released the following statement for Pink Shirt Day in B.C. today (February 24).
"Today, we stand together against bullying and with millions of people in nearly 180 countries throughout the world on the 14th annual Pink Shirt Day.
"This past year has been particularly hard for kids, with so many young people experiencing increased stress and mental health challenges as a result of the pandemic. That's why this Pink Shirt Day is so important.
"This year's theme is 'lift each other up.' Lifting each other up means accepting and respecting each other, regardless of race, culture, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. It means seeing others for their strengths, abilities and things we have in common. It means taking the time to understand different points of view and share experiences. By lifting each other up and wearing pink today, we are standing in solidarity against bullying and letting kids know they aren't alone.
"In B.C., we have a provincial ERASE (expect respect and a safe education) strategy that continues to evolve and respond to our children's needs. We encourage school communities to engage in and promote all aspects of ERASE and ensure children know they can anonymously report anything they find concerning through the Erase website.
"ERASE resources also focus on social media and online safety, mental health and wellness, substance use, anti-racism, gang prevention, and supporting students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
"We need to let young people know they are not alone and they can reach out to others for help. We must continue to make a difference for those who may not be able to stand up for themselves. Today, we challenge you to take the lessons of Pink Shirt Day and make them last all year long. Lift each other up and remember a small act of kindness can be a powerful force.
"Please share your words of encouragement and kindness for Pink Shirt Day this year using the social media hashtags: #PinkShirtDay and #erasebullying."