SUMMERSIDE – Pink Shirt Day, a nationwide anti-bully campaign, has reached its seventh year and continues to grow in strength.
Travis Price, of Berwick, Nova Scotia, co-founder of Pink Shirt Day, addressed Summerside city council earlier this week on the need and to support the initiative.
The original event was organized by Price and David Shepherd who, in 2007, bought and distributed 50 pink shirts after male ninth grade student Charles McNeill was bullied for wearing a pink shirt during the first day of school.
“This is something that is really important to me,” Price said. “It goes beyond me just creating this day for that grade 9 student. It goes beyond the stories the newspapers tell. It goes to when I was in grade one I got bullied for the first time. It goes to grade seven when I got put in hospital because I got beat up so bad. And it goes to the first time I tried to attempt to take my life. This is what this means to me. This is my heart. This is my passion. This is what drives me every single day.”
Price said the support the program has had has been strong and nowhere has it been stronger than on P.E.I.
“It’s amazing to see the amount of support we’ve gotten all across this province,” he said. “I can honestly say that in the six years that I have been doing this, this has been the fastest growth I’ve seen in any province. When I was here for the Gold Cup and Saucer parade in Charlottetown last summer, I had a kid message me after the parade looking for support, looking for help as often happens when I visit a province.”
Price said youth are also responding to the effort.
“Since Pink Shirt Day has been off the ground, I see this response through youth that have reached out to me saying how can we get involved, how can we make a difference because they see what the work is that this group is doing already,” said. It’s truly incredible. I hope we can continue to work together t and work with Pink Shirt Day P.E.I. to continue to make this movement grow on this Island so eventually we can have a bully-free P.E.I. and a bully-free Canada.”
City council, in support of anti-bullying, passed a resolution, calling for $5,000 to be made available to help stop bullying in Summerside. That request will be dealt with in the upcoming municipal budget next month.