At Victoria Park here in Regina, community members got together for a reconciliation event called “Orange Shirt Day Walk”.
Orange Shirt Day I was aware of, but I didn’t come across Friday’s walk until the morning of the event, when I heard a (very brief) mention of it on the radio. I eventually found out when and where it was and decided it would be a great event to check out and take part in. I asked Amanda Ewert if she would be able to join me, and she was able to meet me at City Square Plaza.
I’m not sure how many people were at the event, but I would guess maybe a couple hundred. Elementary and middle year students were the group I noticed the most. The event started off with comments from Noel Starblanket. Anytime I can hear Noel speak it’s awesome.
Almost everyone was decked out in an orange shirt (apparently mine was reddish/orange, but I tried my best), and what I thought the generational talk about making sure we are headed in the right direction was the most impactful. With so many students taking part, it was a good event that brought together so many different people– Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, police officers, government officials, teachers, students…
Every child matters is a powerful slogan that I think about a lot. Recently it’s taken on even more of a meaning as I think about residential schools, racism and oppression. The talk about seven generations in the past and moving forward, means we have to be coming together now. Friday’s event, were we spoke about what reconciliation means to us personally, can go a long ways.
I didn’t have any classes on Friday and in the past, I honestly wouldn’t have put that much thought into going to an event like this. Not because I opposed it, but because I would have just found something else to do. However, by not attending an event like the Orange Shirt Day Walk, maybe it’s like being silent when it comes to oppression. Silence, or not participating, is the same as being a bystander. I’m done being a bystander. My family and friends, and future students have to understand that knowing, and doing nothing, is not okay.
I don’t think I accomplished anything extraordinary on Friday, but going out and taking part in the event and walk downtown, along with many other people in our community, was a lot of fun, and really just a small part of being an engaged citizen.