The Kwantlen Polytechnic University Bookstore is selling Every Child Matters T-shirts in support of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30. All proceeds will be donated to the Orange Shirt Society, a non-profit organization based in Williams Lake.
The Society started Orange Shirt Day in 2013, which was founded by Phyllis Webstad. The purpose of the Society is to support residential school reconciliation, create awareness of intergenerational impacts of residential schools, and create awareness of the “Every Child Matters” movement, according to their website.
“We want to raise awareness, and we also want to make sure that … this orange shirt is the official shirt,” says Kathryn Wood, KPU Bookstore manager.
Last year, the Bookstore was unable to participate in the movement due to COVID uncertainty.
“With everything that’s happened in the past, we thought it was a good time to participate … and wanted to ensure that we’re raising awareness and helping staff and students on their path to truth and reconciliation,” she says.
The shirts were designed by Geraldine Catalbas, a Grade 11 student from Pinocchio, Alberta. The shoes on the bottom represent the children who died, and the laces tie to the words “Every Child Matters” before evolving into an eagle, which represents the transformation in the path upwards, Wood says.
The design means remembering the children who lost their lives in residential schools and celebrating the triumph of survivors as they overcome their past.
Sept. 30 was declared as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation last year to honour the children who never came home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities, according to the federal government’s website.
The orange t-shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations,” reads the website.
Canadians are encouraged to wear an Every Child Matters t-shirt on Sept. 30.
KPU’s T-shirts can be purchased for $18 at the KPU Bookstore online or at any campus store location.