Wearing pink to support others

Feb 27, 2019

Let's Pink It Forward at Work and In Schools 

We all know that performing an act of kindness has an impact on both the giver and receiver. One Canadian story of kindness has continued to affect students across the globe with its anti-bullying message. Pink Shirt Day began in Nova Scotia after a new male high school student was bullied and threatened with homophobic slurs because he wore a pink shirt to the first day of school. Feeling a kinship with the student, two of his schoolmates organized a peaceful protest: They and their peers wore pink tops to school the next day and this symbolic act spoke volumes. The new student felt relieved and supported, and the bullies weren’t heard from again.

School Involvement 

The success of school curricula and workplace cultures devoted to kindness bodes well for all involved, including the outcome of more giving exchanges. In fact, The Leo Baeck Day School has made it a priority to support students’ social and emotional well-being throughout the year, and in their planning of mental health and wellness-focused professional development days. Some of their key leadership reflects this with two social workers devoted to providing counselling for students and social-emotional training to staff. Leo Baeck staff work together to ensure this focus on social and emotional health is a strong component of the school culture.
This year The Leo Baeck Day School, along with schools across the globe, will take part in Pink Shirt Day on February 27th. Students show support by dressing in pink shirts, like their Nova Scotian peers did years ago, to show support for self-esteem and denounce bullying.
Taking time to stand against bullying and support strong self-esteem can actually help society. We need it even more in this fast-paced, disconnected culture. In fact, the way we live today often moves us away from more intimate, generous exchanges with our neighbours, family or even friends.


It’s interesting to note the success of the recent Mister Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbour? which focused on Fred Rogers and his emphasis on the power of kindness and love. He welcomed differences and always reminded us to see the light in other people. As he shared in a speech to Middlebury College: “I believe that appreciation is a holy thing, that when we look for what’s best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does; so in appreciating our neighbour, we’re participating in something truly sacred.” This idea is also a part of Jewish wisdom:

“The world is built through kindness.”
עוֹלָם חֶסֶד יִבָּנֶה Olam Chesed Yibaneh, Psalm 89:3
So, whether you join in for this international anti-bullying day or simply take a stand for diversity in your own way, the choice is always a good one and it’s nice to know it makes a difference to you as well as those you take the time to show solidarity for. And, may this Pink Shirt Day – started from students who wore them to support another boy being knocked for simply wearing pink – be a reminder that the power to make a difference begins with each of us. Whether it’s one person or a whole school in a sea of pink, let’s share the message that we care and help make someone else feel supported and loved. It always matters.

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