September 30, 2021
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It’s our country’s first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a statutory holiday where we remember the child victims of the residential school system. More broadly, it is a reckoning for our country around a history stained with sustained efforts to forcibly assimilate Indigenous peoples.
Also known as Orange Shirt Day, it is an important step toward, if not necessarily righting the wrongs of the past - because history cannot be rewritten - then understanding where we’ve come from so we can work toward building a better, common future that is fair for all.
Lofty goals indeed, and this is a critical step in that journey. But if I’m being brutally honest, it worries me.
Because it isn’t enough, yet there are many who will assume wearing an orange shirt, on this day, is sufficient. Or maybe posting an orange frame around their social media profile photo. Or retweeting the work of others. Or some other easily-accomplished digital activity that suggests solidarity.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with any of these activities. Awareness is, after all, a critical foundation to action. But that’s the problem: slacktivist-social-media responses to real-world issues are so often heavy on symbolism, not so much on action.
And this, on a supposed national holiday where only four provinces and one territory even bothered to legislate it as a day of observance.
Indeed, wherever we live, we will still be wrestling with the action part tomorrow, and every day thereafter. Too many Indigenous communities will lack drinkable water. Or resources to move forward.
What we all do to drive change matters far more to their - and our collective - future long after we’ve taken our orange shirts off and tossed them in the laundry.
#ldnont #EveryChildMatters #NDTR