Orange Shirt Day: A Colour of Hope and Reconciliation
Submitted by Jody Sydor Jones, Corporate Director, Corporate Director, Mission, Reconciliation & Volunteer Resources
This Sunday, September 30 is Orange Shirt Day, an important day in the spirit of reconciliation that reminds us that every child matters. Started in 2013, Orange Shirt Day encourages Canadians to remember the wrongs of the residential school system and to honour its survivors and their families. Everyone is encouraged to wear an orange shirt on September 30 to commemorate this day and to show their support.
The orange shirt you wear tells an important story. On her first day of school, in the early 1970’s, six-year old Phyllis Webstad proudly wore a shiny new orange shirt to school at St. Joseph’s Residential School in William’s Lake, BC. That day, the shirt was taken away and never seen again. “The colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing,” Webstad said 40 years later, when she organized the first Orange Shirt Day in Williams Lake. Re-framing her experience, Webstad led the way in creating a day in which all Canadians can acknowledge this history and show support for a better way forward.
In the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations to come, Providence Health Care signed a Declaration of Cultural Safety and Humility on September 26, 2017. On this date, leadership from Providence, the First Nations Health Authority, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, came together along with Indigenous elders, to acknowledge the harms of the past, and to commit to a better path forward for the health and wellness for our First Nations and Aboriginal patients and families from across BC.
We hope you will take part in Orange Shirt Day, any time this weekend – or all weekend! Put on your best orange shirt, show your solidarity, and stand with Indigenous people to honour all survivors of the residential school system, for a better way forward in the spirit of reconciliation.
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