Today – Sept. 30 – on Orange Shirt Day, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are encouraged to come together in the spirit of hope and reconciliation to honour residential school survivors, their families, and communities by wearing orange.
“Orange Shirt Day provides an opportunity to listen to stories about the residential school system and their lasting impacts,” says Kat Pasquach, Aboriginal outreach and retention co-ordinator. “But wearing orange is just one way to honour survivors. We also need to take time to pause, learn, and reflect on the harm done to the children, families, and communities — the inter-generational trauma.”
In preparation for Orange Shirt Day, the University purchased 500 orange T-shirts and 80 lawn signs, with the intention to raise awareness of the day and funds for Indigenous students on campus.
Both items sold out in a matter of days.
“It was amazing to see the campus community eager to get involved with Orange Shirt Day, purchasing a T-shirt or lawn sign to show their support,” Pasquach says.
To help continue raising awareness, the Orange Shirt Day committee has developed material for the campus community to use to show their support, including a Facebook frame, virtual meeting backgrounds, a presentation slide, and an Orange Shirt Day email signature, which can be found on the Orange Shirt Day website.
The University will also mark the day with community events and workplace activities, including:
- A Healing Walk along the Windsor riverfront;
- A New Future in Education panel discussion surrounding the unsettling truths that need to be taught in the classroom;
- A film screening of the National Film Board film WAAYDANAA - Now is the Time;
- A prize draw for those who share photos on social media tagged #UwinWearsOrange for a package of the books I Am Not a Number, Secret Path, and When We Were Alone.
The campus community is reminded that Sept. 30 has been designated as a ‘meeting-free’ day for staff and faculty to enable reflection and participation in community events.
Those who are interested in learning more about Orange Shirt Day and the residential school system can visit uwindsor.ca/orangeshirtday.
Healing and support resources are also available on the Orange Shirt Day website for Indigenous community members who are in need of emotional support after engaging with Orange Shirt Day.