Monday, September 30th is Orange Shirt Day – a day to honour, support, and remember the thousands of Indigenous children who were taken from their families and forced to attend residential schools.
Orange Shirt Day grew out of a gathering of survivors in Williams Lake, BC in 2013, where Phyllis Webstad shared her experience of having a brand-new orange shirt taken away the moment she arrived at residential school. The orange shirt has become a symbol of the many losses experienced by students and families due to residential schools.
Since that gathering in 2013, the phrase “Every Child Matters” has been used to acknowledge the value of every child and for communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for future generations. And it stands as a reminder to all of us that we can make a difference in the lives of our children and students, helping them feel worthy of love, respect, and belonging.
In this message, IBEW International Vice President, Tom Reid, is encouraging members to show their support for Orange Shirt Day. You can wear orange, participate in Orange Shirt Day events and activities, learn more about the true history of residential schools, or listen to the stories of courage and resilience of survivors and their families. By paying tribute, we can help raise awareness about the residential school system and send the message that Every Child Matters.