February 24, 2016, is Pink Shirt Day—A day to raise awareness surrounding bullying and how we can put a stop to it. Originating in Canada, the pink shirt movement was sparked by an incident that happened in a Nova Scotia high school in 2007, where a male student in grade 9 was bullied for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school. Other male students, who recognized the mistreatment ordered 50 pink shirts and distributed them to raise awareness surrounding anti-bullying. This movement shed light on an issue that affects many youths, and “pink shirt day” or “anti-bullying day” is now recognized internationally.
Bullying is a major problem and it doesn’t only happen in schools. It can range from online defamation and teasing, singling out people on a sports team which can destroy their self-esteem, pushing and shoving on a playground and even intimidation in an office setting. No matter where it occurs, bullying is wrong. Although we play on words with our brand, many team members at A Nerd’s World have experienced bullying at some point in their lives. Pink Shirt day and raising anti-bullying awareness resonates with us because we were the kids who were more interested in comic books, learning about the internet, collecting stamps, or researching astrophysics.
We’re all familiar with the term “Sticks and Stones,” however broken bones can heal. Words are powerful and can severely impact one’s sense of self-worth. There are too many victims who are suffering silently because of cyber-bullying or because they’re afraid their situation will only get worse if they reach out for help–this why we need to let young people know that there are solutions to their situations. If you or someone you know are victims of bullying there are resources and help to save them. The act of bullying usually has deeply seeded roots and can stem from mistreatment at home. We don’t know everyone’s story, but we do know that it doesn’t take much to be kinder to someone. Before you make a remark that you think is all fun and games, put yourself in the shoes of the one on the receiving end. You may want to think twice about poking fun at someone’s glasses or their accent.
Do your part to make the world a better place—step in if you see someone getting bullied, or notify someone if you think your safety might be in jeopardy. Use words to encourage and support, not hurt. Today, wear your pink shirt with pride and help put an end to bullying for good.
Chris A. Hughes