A reflection on Pink Shirt Day 2021

On Friday 21 May I joined many New Zealanders who donned pink t-shirts to show their support for inclusive, respectful and safe schools, workplaces and communities. Pink Shirt Day of course started in Canada in about 2008 and has spread around the world.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about all the things I’ve experienced and witnessed that would, these days, be considered bullying. I am not going to cite the data or get into specifics, there are plenty of more authoritative sources than me that are just a google search away.

The element I have been thinking about is the way that bullies impact on the working lives of everyone around them. While colleagues may find supportive strategies for each other, they are often left with two options – leave, or try to survive long enough until the bully chooses to leave. Finding out that the organisation you work for values the bully more than they value you is a bit of a kick in the shins. And thus the following poem emerged, it is the inner dialogue of someone tired of seeing their colleagues targeted and feeling unable to take any direct action to prevent harm.

Shall I compare thee to a winter’s night?
You are icier and more ill-tempered!
Your cold fingers grip ever so tight
And your howling winds are often heard.
We grow thicker skin, worn like heavy coats
That give only temporary protection
Against the hail and snow you love to host.
We all yearn for a season rotation
That blessed moment of Solstice
When we will see the back of you, your passing
And spring will bring new promise
So we can be free from polar blasting.
But you are not a season are you, dear?
And you will not leave nor return stolen cheer.

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

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