It was Pink Shirt Day in Aotearoa New Zealand on Friday 19 May. Schools and workplaces become a sea of pink as people joined together to stamp out bullying and celebrate diversity.
Koorero Mai, Koorero Atu, Mauri Tuu, Mauri Ora!
Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!
The students at St Paul’s were all in with this initiative; Poppy Main (Year 13) delivered a strong message at assembly promoting kindness and inclusion.
She says, “It is so important to surround yourself with people who constantly support you, encourage you, make you laugh and feel your best. You choose who you surround yourself with so make it those who lift you up.
“You do not have to be friends with everybody, you don’t have to get along with everyone, but you can always be kind to anyone. Through no cost of your own, you can give everyone the respect they deserve and show your support. Going out of your way to throw a mean comment at someone is not only going to get others down but also yourself – it’s just a waste of energy.”
Her wise words mirror the Pink Shirt Day movement to spread aroha and kindness and put an end to bullying. It’s a day that can educate our community and last all year.
“You never know who may be struggling, you don’t know the unseen battles that so many of your peers could be facing. You can never expect that anyone is okay or think you know what someone is going through because sometimes those with the biggest smiles can be the ones struggling the most.
“If you see someone being bullied, be an upstander, not a bystander. Call someone out, they may not even know they are being a bully, or if they do, being caught out can be a huge step in the right direction of stopping them. Let the person being bullied know they're not alone, support them as much as you can, and advise them to get help from someone they know they can trust. Speak up with kindness, reach out and get help.
“Be yourself, and don’t ever let someone’s opinion on you make you think you need to change something about yourself, especially at the cost of your own happiness. You do not need to put pressure on yourself to impress every person – back yourself and surround yourself with others that do the same.
“We are lucky enough to have an amazing support network which is always accessible to all of us, whether it’s a housemaster, the Rev, chapel team, teacher, the amazing counsellors, a prefect or a friend that you trust, there is always someone to listen to you and to help you.
So today especially, but every day, go out of your way to make someone’s day, and spread kindness.”
Proceeds from the special non-uniform day will go to the Mental Health Foundation.