City of Surrey honours Orange Shirt Day
The City of Surrey honoured Orange Shirt Day with a number of events today. Along with a special ceremony over the noon hour attended by City staff and RCMP members wearing orange, and an educational display in the City Hall Atrium, the plaza at City Hall will be lit in orange this evening to mark the day. Mayor Linda Hepner has also proclaimed September 30th as Orange Shirt Day in the City of Surrey.
Orange Shirt Day honours the resilience and bravery of Indian residential school survivors and their families, and remembers those children who didn’t make it home. It is also an opportunity for Aboriginal governments, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation.
“Today is an opportunity for the past to be acknowledged and reconciled with our present,” Mayor Linda Hepner. “At the City of Surrey we are firmly committed to our ongoing work on the Surrey Urban Aboriginal Social Innovation Strategy and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the Aboriginal Leadership Committee to strengthen the Aboriginal community.”
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called on all levels of government in Canada to do more to acknowledge, respect and support the healing and reconciliation of Aboriginal people in this country. The All Our Relations: Phase 1 of the Surrey Urban Aboriginal Social Innovation Strategy was released in May 2016. The report illuminates facets of the Surrey urban Aboriginal population and focuses on improving their lives within the City. With Surrey having the largest urban Aboriginal population in Metro Vancouver, the City of Surrey is taking a proactive approach to the call to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“For over a century, First Nations, Metis and Inuit children, as young as four years old, were forcibly taken from their families, homes and communities and placed in institutions called residential schools. It is one of the darkest and saddest chapters in our collective history,” said Councillor Vera LeFranc, Chair of the Aboriginal Leadership Committee. “Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity to come together in a spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.”
The City is currently working in partnership with the Aboriginal Leadership Committee on the second phase of the Surrey Urban Aboriginal Social Innovation Strategy. The Phase I All Our Relations report can be viewedhere.