Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 as a result of residential school survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad discussing her experience when she arrived at a residential school.
Webstad shared her story at a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada, in the spring of 2013. On her first day at residential school Phyllis had her new orange shirt taken away from her. Phyllis' experience is used today to teach students about residential schools and their assimilation practices.
The date of September 30 was chosen for the annual event because it is the time of year in which Indigenous children were historically taken from their homes to residential schools.
I wanted to thank everyone involved with the 2019 Orange Shirt Day that I organized with my partner Natika. Together we sold 140 shirts to residents of Kamloops and beyond, raising $280 for the Witness Blanket, a Candadian monument designed to recognise the atrocities of the residential school system.