Today is Anti-Bullying Day 2013, celebrated on the last Wednesday in February here in Canada. It is also called “Pink Shirt Day” as a symbol to stand against bullying. Started in 2007, the first event was organized by two young men in Nova Scotia who arranged a “sea of pink” after Grade 9 student was harassed for wearing a pink polo shirt. The activism gained a lot of media attention and Canada now raises awareness to abolish bullying.

Vancouver slam-poet Shane Koyczan—best known internationally for his performance during the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics—has recorded an incredibly powerful poem called ‘To This Day’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/ltun92DfnPY

The To This Day Project is meant to “explore the profound and lasting impact that bullying can have on an individual.” To create the video, the project crowd-sourced 20-second segments from various volunteer animators and motion artists. The result is a truly beautiful piece and brought tears to my eyes:

I was incredibly fortunate to not experience a severe amount of bullying growing up. In Elementary School, I tread a middle ground between not popular and unpopular, generally avoiding notice altogether. I had a few friends but I often spent lunch hours reading, volunteering as a Library Monitor, or an Office Monitor in the rare chance we’d get to use the PA system. After Elementary School, I was incredibly fortunate to go to an amazing high school program. The school was tiny (130 students total, grades 8-12) and while it did have cliques and popularity politics, it was far more accepting of kids who didn’t fit the traditional school system’s mold.

Recognizing how fortunate I was to reach adulthood relatively unscathed is part of the reason I feel compelled to help raise awareness for Anti-Bullying Day. I believe that planting the seed of thought and raising awareness is often the first and most important step to initiating social change.