FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
St. John’s, NL — First Voice today is calling on all residents of the St. John’s metro area to mark Orange Shirt Day by standing in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples at a planned Rally for Reconciliation. The family-friendly event will take place at the Colonial Building in St. John’s on Saturday, September 30, 2023, beginning at 2:45pm.
Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 as a grassroots campaign in Williams Lake, British Columbia, to promote public awareness about the ongoing legacy of harm from residential schools in Canada. Since then, it has become a national movement to honour survivors of residential schools and those who never made it home to their families. Fulfilling Call to Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the federal government officially recognized September 30, 2021, as the first annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“In previous years we’ve seen a groundswell of support for the urban Indigenous community around September 30th,” said Stacey Howse, Executive Director of First Light Friendship Centre, which is the Lead Partner in First Voice. “People often feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done to reconcile with the dark – and ongoing – legacy of residential schools. They may not know where to start,” she continued. “The Rally for Reconciliation is an opportunity for the public to show support for survivors and their families, and to learn more about our 42 Calls for Change to advance truth and reconciliation right here in St. John’s.”
First Light and First Voice are also encouraging members of the public to use the hashtag #whyiwearorange on social media and to visit whyiwearorange.ca to learn more about how they can honour and support residential school survivors.