National Association of Friendship Centers (NAFC) is pleased to announce the launch of a social media campaign in recognition of Orange Shirt Day which takes place on September 30, 2017. The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30th opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. A discussion all Canadians can tune into where bridges are created with each other for reconciliation. A day for survivors and those affected by Residential Schools to be reaffirmed that they matter, and their experiences are acknowledged in a respectful manner. Every Child Matters, even if they find themselves as an adult today.
Individuals and organizations are invited to visit NAFC’s main Facebook page, the Aboriginal Youth Council (AYC) and New Journeys Facebook pages to find out how they can paint their profiles orange in support and recognition of those who have been impacted by the legacy of Residential Schools. The campaign also invites individuals to share their ideas about and commitments to Reconciliation by using the following common hashtags: #EveryChildMatters, #OrangeShirtDay and #IWearOrangeBecause. Individuals and organizations are also encouraged to visit the above Facebook pages, NAFC.ca, or Newjourneys.ca to find out other ways in which they can contribute to Reconciliation.
Upon the launch of the campaign, NAFC President Christopher Sheppard stated, “Residential Schools and their legacy continue to have a very real impact on our everyday lives and taking the time to wear orange on September 30th acts as a reminder that Canada is still on a healing journey and we are all a part of that journey. Wearing an orange shirt shows honour and respect towards our residential school survivors and their families.” Friendship Centres have been a beacon for Reconciliation for over 50 years as we have brought people together to build thriving and inclusive urban communities where Indigenous people regardless of status are welcome and safe.
Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters grew out of Phyllis Webstad’s account of having her sparkly new orange shirt taken away on her first day of St. Joseph Mission residential school. She shared this story during a community commemoration in Williams Lake, BC in 2013. Phyllis Webstand is Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band). She comes from mixed Secwepemc and Irish/French heritage, was born in Dog Creek, and lives in Williams Lake, B.C. Today, Phyllis is married, has one son, a step-son and three three grandsons. She earned dipomas in Buiness Adminstration from the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology; and in Accounting from Thomspon Rivers University (TRU). Phyllis received the 2017 TRU Distinguished Alumni Award for her unprecedented impact on local, provincial, national and international communities through the sharing of her orange shirt story. At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in Vancouver two weeks before, the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair had encouraged Webstad to share her orange shirt story with others. Since then, Orange Shirt Day has become an annual opportunity to keep the discussion happening on all aspects of residential schools.
When asked to reflect on the campaign Executive Director Erin Corston stated, “we all bear the responsibility to participate in Reconciliation and this small act of choosing to wear an orange shirt on September 30th will be a reminder for ourselves and communicate to those around us that “Every Child Matters.” We know that the impact of Residential Schools has had a dramatic effect on the lives of Indigenous people across Canada. She went on to say, “as survivors have had the courage to share their stories we now have the challenge, where we can choose to take a healing and reconciliatory path into the future. The timing of this day is significant as it is when children were annually taken to residential schools. Please join your colleagues, your local Friendship Centres and communities in wearing orange and opening conversations about the legacy of Residential Schools and our collective opportunity for Reconciliation.”
To get your Profile Picture overlay, visit: http://profile.actionsprout.com/o/97426C