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Bullying: Where's the power?

1 May 2013

Bullying: Where's the power?

People in schools and workplaces will think they’re seeing through rose-coloured glasses on May 17 as New Zealanders join together to show solidarity and raise awareness around bullying by wearing pink and celebrating Pink Shirt Day (PSD).

Pink Shirt Day is a national campaign aimed to raise awareness about the power we all have to prevent bullying.

On PSD, we challenge New Zealanders to wear pink to show that we celebrate diversity and embrace the things that make each of us unique.

Those who wear pink on PSD are identifying themselves as allies, showing they will stand together to stop bullying.

“Pink Shirt Day isn’t about demonising bullies,” says Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive Judi Clements. “It’s about bringing people together, building relationships, and starting conversations.”

Schools, workplaces, and communities around New Zealand are celebrating PSD by having mufti-days, holding a PSD shared breakfast, parades and expos, and by inviting speakers to come into their schools and workplaces to talk about effective ways to address bullying.

On Pink Shirt Day, we hope all Kiwis will ask themselves about the power they have to prevent bullying. Whether it’s the power to intervene, the power to change your own behaviour, or the power to ask for help, we can all make a difference.

Angela Roberts, NZ Post Primary Teachers Association President, believes that PSD will be a reminder to New Zealanders about our country’s comparatively high rates of school bullying, and initiate conversations about how to change this.

“If we want to have every student achieving to the best of their ability, then we have to ensure they feel safe and valued at school, in their community, and at home,” she says.

Thomas Hamilton, Executive Director of Rainbow Youth says “Rainbow Youth supports PSD in order to raise awareness around the challenges of dealing effectively with homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools and workplaces.”

Bullying is a complex issue, and we know that both people who bully others and people who are bullied may need help and support.

The Pink Shirt Day website (www.pinkshirtday.org.nz) has resources for those who want to organise Pink Shirt Day celebrations in their school, workplace or community. We also have information sheets and contact information for those who are experiencing bullying, and would like to seek help.

The PSD campaign partners are the Mental Health Foundation, Youthline, Rainbow Youth, The Peace Foundation, New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association, Q-Topia, and QSA Aotearoa.

About Pink Shirt Day

An annual event celebrated throughout New Zealand and the world, Pink Shirt Day aims to create a New Zealand where all people feel safe, valued and respected.

On PSD, we challenge New Zealanders to wear pink shirts to show that we celebrate diversity and will stand together to embrace the things that make each of us unique.

While PSD is celebrated on only one day per year, we all recognise that the work needed to prevent bullying must continue throughout the year to make a real difference. PSD is about starting conversations and taking action.

The event began in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 2007, when a group of students stood up to defend a kid who was bullied because he was wearing a pink shirt. In a show of solidarity, many of his fellow students wore pink shirts, and PSD was born.

We’ve been celebrating PSD in New Zealand since 2009, and the event grows stronger and larger every year.


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