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A Little Pin with a Giant Impact.
What began as a simple response in support of a young child who had been bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school, has spread far and wide to be known as “Pink Shirt Day,” an anti-bullying initiative that has sparked a response across our entire country. On February 27th you may notice an abundance of pink shirts being worn in support of this anti-bullying campaign. But have you noticed the little pink uniform shirt pins being worn by our very own Edmonton police/peace officers and other emergency response personnel? You may have to look close!
Uniformed personnel are unable to participate in wearing pink shirts due to professional dress and deportment standards, which is unfortunate considering they, as first responders, are often witness to the devastating impacts caused by bullying. Branch Sergeant Major Adrian Marr of the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch, formerly the Edmonton Police Service Corps Sergeant Major wanted to support this anti-bullying cause, and in 2017 he contemplated a solution. With the help and support of a group of diverse individuals from within our community, the Pink Uniform Shirt Pin/Anti-Bullying Initiative was developed and implemented.
Today, and for the last week, members of all emergency frontline services and the public are wearing the pink uniform shirt pin and supporting the anti-bullying program. Several universities, colleges, and schools that have law enforcement or emergency service curriculums have also supported this initiative by selling the pink uniform shirt pin at their campuses. As a symbol of support for anti-bullying campaigns, these small pins have made a large impact. Kelli McMillan, a former police officer, captured it best when she said, “many young people look up to those in uniforms as mentors, sources of safety, protection and support. The pins… spark conversations, reduce stigma for victims of bullying while also sending a message within agencies that bullying is neither accepted or acceptable.”
At our agency, we are ever aware of the ramifications of bullying and the impact it can have on the vulnerable within our community. We take an active stance in promoting a safe space for all kids. That’s why we’re so incredibly humbled to be receiving this year’s proceeds from the Pink Uniform Shirt Pin sales. The $22,067 donation will go towards designing and implementing an anti-bullying program for the 3000 plus children and youth served in the 19 after school program sites across Edmonton. Thank you. Thank you Edmonton Law Enforcement, Government of Alberta, and Derks Formal for making this happen.
And thank you to all those who purchased a pin, and thank you to our kids, who show us every day the importance of kindness, inclusivity, and acceptance as we all work together to end bullying!