Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event, first held in Williams Lake, BC, in 2013. It grew out of a former student’s account of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission. The orange shirt is meant to recognize the harm done to residential school students and show a commitment to the principle that every child matters! There were residential schools in operation in Canada until 1996. A date in September was chosen because it is the time of year that children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and safe and caring policies for the coming school year. It is worn in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of all children to come.
RVS kids are encouraged to wear an orange shirt on September 29 to show their understanding that Every Child Matters. In classrooms, their teachers have shared Phyllis’ story about losing her orange shirt, and have had conversations around this part of Canada’s history. Further, they have spoken about what we can each do every day to let our friends, classmates, new students on the school bus and so on, know that they matter. Students will be wearing their orange shirts as we participate in the Terry Fox run on the same day – another young man who did amazing work that mattered. Thank you for supporting us in sharing these messages! If you would like more information, you can check out the following links: