Pink Shirt campaign to be featured in Human Rights Museum

Shannon MacDonald
Published on June 8, 2014
Travis Price.
Ashley Thompson

Never underestimate the extraordinary impact ordinary people can have on the lives of others. This is exactly the sort of thing the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is planning to highlight in their Actions Count Gallery, a youth-oriented exhibit.

The Pink Shirt Campaign, an anti-bullying movement that was created by two teens from Nova Scotia, will be one of seven stories featured in the Actions Count Gallery.

In 2007, Travis Price and David Shepherd began the Pink Shirt Campaign when they learned a boy in their school was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Price and Shepherd, both in grade 12 at the time, decided to get their fellow schoolmates to wear pink shirts to school the next day as a symbol of solidarity to the bullied ninth grader.

The next day, the school was a sea of pink after hundreds of students joined the movement, donning pink shirts.

The story of the Pink Shirt campaign will be shown through “lenticular” graphic panels. As museum-goers pass by the primarily photographic panel the images will “move.” The main image will be of school-aged children wearing pink shirts, then a secondary image of Price and Shepherd will appear, followed by some text and a quote of Price saying, “People just get to a point where they say ‘enough is enough’ and I think that’s the point where bullying is getting.”

Digital insight stations included in the exhibit will include more information and a short video clip of Price talking about the Pink Shirt movement.

The Actions Count Gallery will also include a digital interactive challenge activity where people participate in making choices to help demonstrate how positive choices can impact the overall health of a community, Maureen Fitzhenry, media relations manager, explained. She went on to say, “Bullying will be one of the themes explored in that activity.”

Fitzhenry says they hope exhibits such as the Pink Shirt campaign will show how everyone can have a positive impact in the lives of others if they choose not to be a by-stander, and how “respect is integral to human rights.” She hopes it will evoke and encourage discussions about human rights and anti-bullying.

Fitzhenry has discovered that when many people think about human rights abuses they often think of far-away places and mass atrocities such as genocide when in reality human rights abuses happen everywhere. This is something the museum would like the public to become aware of, which is one of the reasons they have created their Actions Count Gallery – to draw the connection between human rights and daily life.

Another reason why the museum decided to feature the Pink Shirt Campaign is because they wanted to illustrate how a local event can turn into a global movement. Since its creation in 2007, communities worldwide have celebrated Pink Shirt Day as a way to symbolically stand up to bullies and to show solidarity to victims of bullying.

The museum, which is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is scheduled to open this September.