|Click here to download the Orange Shirt Day Profile Picture.|
Toronto – September 24, 2020 – UFCW Canada will once again be commemorating Orange Shirt Day, September 30, with online actions in support of this year’s event. As part of the day, our union will be joining virtually with communities and individuals across the country who see this event as an opportunity to talk about the impact of Canada’s residential school system on Indigenous persons and the approximately 150,000 children who were subjected to mistreatment and abuse at these schools.
The Orange Shirt Day initiative began in 2013, following the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School Commemoration held in Williams Lake, B.C. The date honours the story of Phyllis Webstad, who tells the story of donning a new orange shirt for her first day of school at the Mission, only to have it stripped from her upon arrival. Phyllis was only 6 years old. This was a precursor to the maltreatment she and many other children received at the school. The last of these government-run and religiously administered schools closed in Canada in 1996.
The date, chosen to coincide with the time of year when children would be taken from their homes to attend residential school, calls on us to reflect on the existence and negative impacts that residential schools had on Indigenous children. It also presents an opportunity, especially for children fresh into their school year, to learn about this history and work together to counter racism and bullying.
The importance of September 30 remains commemorated by activists across the country as Orange Shirt Day. UFCW Canada encourages all activists and allies to observe this day by wearing an orange shirt at home, at work, or in your community to show your support. You can also change your social media profile picture to the Orange Shirt Day photo available for download on this page. As well, supporters can attend a virtual or in-person event in their community on September 30. To see a full list of 2020 Orange Shirt Day events, click here.
In addition to these actions, activists are encouraged to visit UFCW Canada’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages on September 30 and share our Orange Shirt Day posts with your friends, family, and social networks. Together, we can help raise awareness of the legacy left by Canada’s residential school system and the need for Indigenous justice going forward.
As Canada’s leading union, UFCW is committed to achieving Indigenous justice and advancing Indigenous rights in Canada. To learn more about our work in this area here, and to find out how you can advance Reconciliation in your workplace and community, visit UFCW Canada’s Reconciliation webpage.