Students and staff across the Greater Victoria School District (SD61) will don orange shirts on Monday as part of the nationally celebrated Orange Shirt Day, which began in 2013.
Orange shirt day began after Phyllis Jack-Webstad shared her story of having her sparkly new orange shirt taken away on her first day of St. Joseph Mission Residential School. Her story has since been shared to raise awareness and spark conversations about residential schools in Canada.
“Public education has a critical role to play in the truth-telling that will enable meaningful reconciliation,” said Jordan Watters, SD61 board chair in a statement. “We cannot change the past but we can learn from it and move forward together in a good way. Orange Shirt Day is an important opportunity to have conversations about our collective history and renew and inspire a commitment to advancing the process of Canadian reconciliation.”
Students from SD61 will participate in the City of Victoria’s Xe xe Smun eem – Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters event at Centennial Square from noon to 2 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30.
Secondary school students will perform a reconciliation song during the event.