The Union of Health and Environment Workers is proud to support the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 and we encourage all our members to commemorate this important day. It is a solemn day that honours the children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. A painful and tragic reminder of our history.
But it is also a day to recommit to the process of reconciliation and to support the healing of all those affected by residential schools. Many people, both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous choose to wear orange shirts on September 30. The orange shirts are a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations and wearing one is an action to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”.
On September 30, we encourage all UHEW members to wear orange to honour the thousands of Survivors of residential schools and to personally recommit to the process of reconciliation.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada has published a number of other ways that we can all mark September 30. Here are those suggestions:
- Read the 150 Acts of Reconciliation for Canada’s 150, originally published on ActiveHistory.ca. Throughout the year, complete as many activities as you can and share on social media.
- Read about the progress made on Calls to Action 71–76: Missing Children and Burial Information.
- Talk to others about what is currently happening and meet with your Member of Parliament to continue to pressure the government to act on these calls to action.
- Register with your child or grandchild to participate together in Truth and Reconciliation Week 2022, a national program open to all schools across Canada. This year, the theme is “Remembering the Children.”
- Participate in Orange Shirt Day events and volunteer to help by joining a PSAC human rights committee or Indigenous circle in your region.
- Donate to the Residential School Survivors Society, the Orange Shirt Day Society, or another organizationworking to improve the lives of Indigenous families and communities.