On Pink Shirt Day, UNICEF Canada’s Youth Advocate Kaydence from Saskatchewan suggests five ways one can be an ally to others – all year round.

Pink Shirt Day is a powerful movement that originated in Canada, to raise awareness about bullying and promote kindness and inclusivity.

For me, Pink Shirt Day is a reminder of the importance of standing together against bullying and to be an anti-bullying ally throughout the year, not just on Pink Shirt Day.

Some ways to be an ally beyond Pink Shirt Day include having empathy and kindness, taking action and speaking up, empowering others, educating yourself, and participating in inclusive activities and events.

Here are five ways you can contribute to creating a positive and supportive environment so the people in your community feel safe and respected.

Have Empathy and Kindness

Empathy and kindness are powerful tools to help stop bullying. As an ally, you can actively promote these traits by showing compassionate behavior at home, school, or in your community. Encouraging empathy involves listening to others’ experiences, validating their feelings, and showing understanding and support. Acts of kindness, whether small gestures or larger ones, also contribute to creating a positive and inclusive space where bullying is less likely to take place.

Take Action and Speak Up

Silence can encourage bullying by allowing it to go unchecked and unnoticed. Allies play a very important role in breaking this silence by speaking up against bullying whenever they witness or hear about it. This can involve offering support to the victim and/or reporting the incident to authorities or trusted adults. Taking action also means advocating for things that promote anti-bullying within schools and communities, to help stop bullying before it even starts.

Empower Others

Empowering others to stand up against bullying and advocate for themselves is a key part of being an ally. Allies can do this by offering support and encouragement to those who have experienced bullying, helping them develop skills that might help if they get bullied, and information and support on how to seek help and reach out. Allies can also serve as role models in their schools and communities by showing resilience in hate.

Educate Yourself

One important step in being an anti-bullying ally is educating yourself about the different forms of bullying, including verbal, physical, social, and cyberbullying. Understanding the dynamics of bullying and how it impacts victims lets individuals recognize and address bullying behaviors more effectively. By staying informed through resources such as books, articles, and social media, people can gain important information on how to continue to be a great ally.

Participate in Inclusive Activities and Events

Participating in inclusive activities and events is a fun way to promote kindness and inclusivity within school. Ask for help from friends, teachers, and maybe even a school club to organize events that celebrate diversity, promote acceptance, and raise awareness about bullying prevention. This might include anything from a panel discussion, to kindness challenges, or awareness campaigns to hanging posters around your school.

Bullying is always wrong. Here are some additional resources if you or someone you know is experiencing bullying: