Pink Shirt Day: Fostering Unity, Empathy, and Community Building

Photo: Pink Shirt Day t-shirt, designed by 2017 First Nations Art awardee, Corey Bulpitt

The Pink Shirt Day campaign recognizes the importance of unity, inclusivity, and diversity of all people. Originating in Nova Scotia in 2007, this annual event encourages individuals to wear a pink shirt to raise awareness about the hurtful effects of bullying while promoting kindness. 

Pink Shirt Day falls on the last Wednesday of February, this year landing on February 28th. With a goal of creating a more kind, inclusive world by raising awareness and funds for anti-bullying initiatives, this movement has been adopted by schools, workplaces, and communities around the world. This collective effort underlines the consequences of bullying and empowers individuals to take a stand against it, fostering a sense of belonging and shared purpose.  

This year’s official Pink Shirt Day t-shirt has been designed by artist, Corey Bulpitt. Corey is a 2017 recipient of BC Achievement’s First Nations Art Award. True to his First Nations heritage, Corey’s design reflects his signature graffiti style, with two gesturing hands featuring a traditional Haida face. The design serves as a welcome to others while conveying respect and friendly greetings practiced through Coast Salish and Northwest communities. Net proceeds from all sales go directly to helping children in British Columbia and Western Canada build healthy self-esteem with themselves and their peers.

Pink Shirt Day events and activities throughout the province are a vibrant reflection of British Columbians’ commitment to promoting kindness, empathy, and community building. From schools to workplaces, various initiatives take place each year to engage people in conversations about bullying and inspire positive change.  

Here are some examples of Pink Shirt Day events and activities in British Columbia: 

1. School Campaigns: 

Schools across British Columbia actively participate in Pink Shirt Day by organizing awareness campaigns and events. Students and teachers wear pink shirts, and many schools plan special assemblies, workshops, and classroom activities focused on kindness, respect, and anti-bullying messages. These initiatives help create a supportive environment that encourages open discussions about the impact of bullying. 

2. Community Workshops and Presentations: 

 Various organizations, including community groups, non-profits, and local businesses, host workshops and presentations on Pink Shirt Day. These events often feature guest speakers, psychologists, or experts in bullying prevention who share insights, strategies, and resources to address and prevent bullying in different settings. 

3. Social Media Campaigns: 

The digital realm plays a significant role in Pink Shirt Day activities. Communities in BC leverage social media platforms to spread awareness, share personal stories, and engage in discussions about the importance of kindness and empathy. Hashtags such as #PinkShirtDay and #BeKindBC gain traction, amplifying the movement’s impact and encouraging widespread participation. 

4.Pink Shirt Day Fundraisers: 

Fundraising events are a common occurrence in British Columbia, with the proceeds often supporting anti-bullying initiatives, mental health organizations, or local charities. Schools, businesses, and community groups organize events such as bake sales, charity runs, and silent auctions, creating opportunities for individuals to contribute to the cause while fostering a sense of community involvement. 

5. Corporate Participation: 

Many businesses in British Columbia actively engage in Pink Shirt Day by encouraging employees to wear pink shirts, hosting awareness sessions, and implementing anti-bullying policies in the workplace. Corporate involvement helps extend the reach of the movement beyond schools, fostering a culture of kindness and respect in professional settings. 

The movement’s impact extends beyond the symbolic act of wearing a pink shirt; it prompts individuals to examine their attitudes, challenge stereotypes, and actively work towards a culture of respect. Pink Shirt Day serves as a reminder that everyone has a role to play in creating a world free from bullying, where diversity is celebrated, and all individuals feel valued and accepted. 

BC Achievement. Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Nurturing First Nations Art through film 

Photo: Xwalacktun, 2023 Award of Distinction recipient, Polygon Award in First Nations Art

First Nations peoples are storytellers and so it’s an incredible honour for BC Achievement to showcase the stories of BC’s talented First Nations artists and share them through film. 

Since 2006, BC Achievement has produced a film for each artist who has received the First Nations Art recognition (that’s almost 100 artists over 17 years!). The foundation’s film-maker travels to the artist’s home, studio and community to create a short film capturing their practices and influences. 

The Polygon Award in First Nations Art program honours BC artists for excellence in traditional and contemporary First Nations Art. Whether the medium is carving, painting, beading, or basket weaving, to name a few, each of the awardees has their stories preserved as part of their recipient experience. 

Exceptional First Nations artists, emerging, mid-career or those who have contributed a lifetime of achievement, have been celebrated mastering their respective practices. 

The award program serves as a testament to the pivotal role of art in First Nations culture. Watching these films provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the narratives of First Nations artists, gaining an intimate understanding of the stories, techniques, and inspirations that shape their creations. The films are a celebration of cultural resilience, artistic brilliance, and the timeless connection between First Nations communities and their creative heritage. 

The films serve as inspiration for artists and art enthusiasts alike, as well as serving as a teaching tool for classrooms, young students and those who want to understand the significance of First Nations art, fostering cross-cultural understanding which helps to break down stereotypes. 

Witnessing the innovative ways in which First Nations artists merge tradition with contemporary techniques can spark creativity and encourage a more inclusive approach to artistic expression. 

The Polygon Award in First Nations Art films are easily accessible on BC Achievement’s YouTube channel. This platform ensures widespread availability, allowing audiences from all backgrounds to engage with these culturally enriching narratives. Encourage friends, family, and followers to visit the channel, watch the films, and share the experience on social media to amplify the reach and impact of these visual stories.

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

The significance of BC Achievement’s Applied Art + Design Award program films 

Photo: Kate Metten, 2023 Applied Art + Design Award recipient and Judson Beaumont emerging artist designate

BC Achievement shines a light on the incredible accomplishments of its awardees, creating a platform for their stories to be celebrated and to inspire others. In the realm of applied art and design, the Sam Carter Applied Art + Design program’s films emerge as a compelling showcase of creativity, innovation, and the intersection of tradition with contemporary aesthetics and methods. 

These short films provide a captivating journey into the world where creativity meets functionality. Watching these films not only offers a visual feast for design enthusiasts but also deepens appreciation for the artists who seamlessly merge form and function. Hosted on BC Achievement’s YouTube channel, these films are a testament to the transformative power of design in our daily lives.  

By sharing these stories, we contribute to the celebration of innovation, craftsmanship, and the enduring impact of applied art on the way we experience the world. British Columbians can see themselves in these remarkable examples and then take the first step to create stronger, more engaged communities throughout the province. 

The Applied Art + Design films curated by BC Achievement are a testament to the transformative power of creative vision in everyday life. They celebrate the mastery and ingenuity of artists who bring functionality and artistic expression together, providing a unique perspective on the innovative ways artists approach design challenges. These films celebrate the beauty inherent in the marriage of form and function, exemplifying how applied art enhances our daily experiences. 

In addition, the films highlight the artists’ inspiration, their style of work, what drives them, their challenges and their successes and their dreams for future generations of artists. No small task to complete in an under-five-minute film! But these stories are worth telling and worth sharing. They serve as a capsule holding immense knowledge, which reveal the stories and skills of each artist. 

The films offer a behind-the-scenes look at the creative processes and design thinking behind functional art pieces. Viewers can gain insights into the innovative approach artists take to solve design challenges, redefining the boundaries between art and utility. They allow us to appreciate the craftsmanship and skill involved in creating functional art. From furniture and textiles to industrial design, these films highlight the meticulous attention to detail that elevates everyday objects to the realm of art. 

Audiences can gain a deeper understanding of how artists navigate the delicate balance between preserving heritage and embracing modern design aesthetics while contributing to BC’s growing cultural economy. 

As many artists in these films prioritize sustainable and eco-friendly practices, the films contribute to a broader conversation about responsible design allowing us to learn about the importance of sustainable materials, ethical production processes, and the role of design in shaping a more environmentally conscious future. 

BC Achievement Applied Art + Design films are available as part of an online archive library for the public on BC Achievement’s YouTube channel. Please watch and please share and support BC Achievement! 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Celebrating Indigenous business excellence through film 

Photo: Teara Fraser, 2023 Indigenous Business Award of Distinction recipient

Storytelling has the power to illuminate, educate, and bridge gaps in our understanding of diverse cultures. The Indigenous Business Award (IBA) films stand as a testament to the importance of Indigenous narratives, offering a unique perspective on entrepreneurship, resilience and cultural heritage.  

Each year the annual Indigenous Business Award program uses storytelling through short films as one avenue to shine a spotlight on the remarkable achievements and contributions of Indigenous entrepreneurs. Now in its sixteenth annual offering, the Indigenous Business Award program continues its mission to recognize and celebrate excellence in Indigenous business throughout British Columbia.  

Awardee stories have been captured on film and produced by BC Achievement, to serve as both a tool for the awardees to use to advance their business venture, and as an inspiration to others for the commitment and possibilities of Indigenous entrepreneurship. 

The IBA films provide a platform for Indigenous voices to be heard and celebrated allowing the viewer to gain insights into the challenges faced and overcome by Indigenous business leaders, fostering a deeper appreciation for their accomplishments. 

They also provide greater understanding of the values, traditions, and community ties that play a pivotal role in Indigenous entrepreneurship. The stories of resilience, determination and success motivate viewers to overcome their own challenges and pursue their dreams. These unique stories shed light on the economic impact of Indigenous entrepreneurship, encouraging viewers to engage with and support these businesses. And importantly, the narratives serve to inspire other Indigenous entrepreneurs as they forge their own path to excellence. 

The IBA films provide valuable educational tools. Schools, colleges, and educational institutions can use these films to teach students about Indigenous history, culture, and the contemporary issues faced by Indigenous communities. 

In 2023, a total of eight Indigenous businesses, entrepreneurs, partnership entities and community-owned enterprises were recognized from across the province, joining more than 220 distinguished alumni to be honoured since the program’s launch in 2008. The short films are part of an extensive online archive library which can be viewed on BC Achievement’s YouTube channel.

Watch the films of the 2023 IBA awardees here, and please share.

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.