Why orange? Orange shirt day is typically on September 30th, however given the recent discovery of the 215 bodies of children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential School, schools across the province marked last week with wearing orange. The colour stems from the story of Phyllis Jack Webstad who entered St. Joseph’s Mission residential school at the age of 6 in 1973/74. Phyllis was excited on her first day of school, and chose a brand new orange shirt to wear that was given to her by her grandmother. Filled with excitement, Phyllis arrived at school only to have her clothes taken away from her. She never wore the shirt again, and didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to her. So began her time in a residential school.
The colour orange has always reminded Phyllis of how she felt that day, and even though Phyllis has gone on to accomplish a great deal in her lifetime, she continues on her healing journey as a result of her time in a residential school. She has inspired thousands of people to honour residential school survivors and their families, and to work towards truth and reconciliation. It’s looking like September 30th of each year will now be marked as an official statutory holiday, to help us remember, and to appeal to us all that every child matters.
More information about Phyllis Jack Webstad can be found here. https://www.orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html
Yours in faith,