Several hundred local participants – led by the RCMP in a police vehicle and another walking in Red Serge – marched up Centre Street as part of a Pink Parade celebration aimed at bringing awareness and taking a stand against bullying.
It was one of a number of Red Cross Day of Pink events held across the province.
Later, the group gathered at the Crescent Point Wickenheiser Centre for a community barbeque, sponsored by the Shaunavon Co-op.
“It was a fantastic day – we’re really pleased with the turnout,” said Dwinell Stevenson, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Red Cross in the Southwest. It’s great to have the school and community support.”
“Hopefully, we can build on this for next year’s event and make it even bigger and better.”
The event was organized by Shaunavon School Community Councils in co-operation with a number of local agencies, including the Red Cross.
The parade drew students from all three Shaunavon schools as well as a large number of local residents, all wearing pink to show their support for the cause, although the cooler temperatures forced many participants to wear overcoats.
The parade started at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday from the High School parking lot following a few words from Stevenson and Shaunavon mayor Sharon Dickie.
About 600 hot dogs provided by the Co-op and 600 pieces of cake provided by the Town of Shaunavon were served at noon.
More than a half dozen local businesses also took part in the Red Cross Day of Pink in one form or another.
The entire event was organized and sponsored by the School Community Councils at Christ the King School, Public School and High School as well as the Shaunavon RCMP, Shaunavon Co-op, Canadian Red Cross and Town of Shaunavon. Members of the Shaunavon Fire Department also positioned fire trucks at intersections along Centre Street to limit traffic.
The parade was arranged in the wake of a well-attended anti-bullying meeting in Shaunavon last November.
Organizers at that gathering made a commitment to remain active in the fight against bullying.
Wearing pink as a symbol of the cause can be traced back to an incident at a Nova Scotia school in 2007 when a grade 9 student arrived wearing a pink shirt and was bullied because of it.
Two Grade 12 students – David Shepherd and Travis Price – heard the news and decided to take action.
They went to a nearby store and bought 50 pink shirts, including tank tops, to wear to school the next day.
Not only were dozens of students outfitted with the discount t-shirts, but hundreds of students also showed up wearing their own pink clothes, some head-to-toe.
The Canadian Red Cross believes that every child should be treated with respect and that means taking a stand against bullying every day.
The Day of Pink is a day to celebrate, respect and to encourage others to join the movement.