Orange Shirt Day (September 30th) is a day when we remember the Indigenous children who were taken to residential schools in Canada and learn more about their history. Students at these schools weren't given new clothes on this day; instead, they were issued an orange shirt as part of their uniform.
The date of Orange Shirt Day was established by Parliament in 1990. At that time, lawmakers acknowledged that many students who attended these schools didn't get given any type of clothing for school. Instead, they were required to wear an orange shirt as part of their uniform. The color orange was chosen because it was considered important for students to be able to identify one another while also being aware that they were now attending a school.
These students were often separated from their families and sent away from their home communities. Many parents did not want their children to go to the residential schools, but had no choice if they wanted an education for themselves or their children. Others chose to send their children to these schools so they could continue getting paid even though they were not present during school hours.
Students at the residential schools weren't just given orange shirts to wear, but they also lacked basic supplies like notebooks and pencils. Some schools didn't have a supply budget, so teachers would simply use their own money to buy materials for their students.
It is observed yearly on September 30 in Canadian communities, particularly in schools, where participants are encouraged to wear orange shirts.
|Orange Shirt Day|
|Significance||National day of remembrance for the victims of the Canadian Indian residential school system|
The goal of Orange Shirt Day is to raise awareness and educate students about intergenerational injustices, racism, and bullying towards Indigenous peoples. Wearing an orange shirt helps to communicate messages of optimism and acceptance of all individuals, as well as the fact that every individual counts! Mr. Diniz, 5th Grade Teacher at Montessori School of Greater Washington, started the school-wide celebration in honor of his Filipino ancestry and their contribution to the community.
In 1990, the United States government recognized November 27 as American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) History Month. President George H. W. Bush issued a proclamation designating 1991 as Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month. He called on Americans to reflect on their shared heritage and honor important figures in API history. The two holidays have since been combined into one annual event.
Why do we say someone's appearance makes them "orange"?"orange" is used here as a metaphor for people who are different from everyone else in some way. It comes from the word "anthropoid," which means human-like or related to humans. When you call someone an "orange" painter would know they're not like other people—they're unique in some way, probably because they have colors that are too strong or bright for others.
Wear a little orange on Harmony Day! This event has concluded. Harmony Day in Australia is celebrated on March 21, and it honors the country's cultural variety. It falls on the same day as the United Nations' International Day for the Abolition of Racial Discrimination. The color orange is used to represent harmony and friendship in many cultures, so this is a perfect day to show your support by wearing some orange.
According to legend, the tradition of wearing orange on March 21 began with Queen Victoria, who was born on February 24th. She loved the culture of Australia and tried to learn languages other than English while ruling over its people. To help her be more aware of other cultures, her advisors decided that calling attention to racism would be a good idea. So they ordered all police officers in Melbourne, Victoria to wear orange on March 21st to demonstrate their commitment to equality and justice for all people.
Since then, the practice has spread to other parts of Australia and around the world. If you want to join in the fun, wear something bright orange on March 21st!
Oh, and if you're wondering why we call it "Harmony Day", it's because 2013 will be the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in Australia. The settlers who came to establish the first government in Australia wanted to create a peaceful society where everyone could live together in harmony.