Calgarians gather downtown for Orange Shirt walk to support residential school survivors

The third annual Orange Shirt Day walk was held in downtown Calgary Sept. 25, 2021. Global News

As Canadians get set to observe the first Truth and Reconciliation Day on Sept. 30, a Calgary group held a walk and afternoon of community programming Saturday.

The Colouring It Forward Reconciliation Society started the day with the third annual Orange Shirt Day Walk along Stephen Avenue to honour and remember the victims of Canada’s residential school system.

Read more: There’s a new federal holiday in September. What does it mean for you?

Organizers say it’s a way to show solidarity with survivors.

“I think the biggest takeaway is to see both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people walking together to honour survivors of residential school, survivors of the ’60s Scoop, and the families who are supporting those survivors and who are trying to deal with intergenerational trauma,” said the society’s CEO Diana Frost.

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“Just to see all the people who come out to show their support, show their love and their support for positive change.”

Frost said with the first instance of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on the horizon, this and other Orange Shirt events are more poignant than ever.

She wants to eventually move the annual event to fall in line with the statutory holiday so more people can take part.

Read more: AUPE files formal grievance against province over National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

“The only reason that we kept it on the weekend was because I want to wait a little longer until more organizations are observing the stat. Because this is so important for survivors to be able to come out with their families,” Frost said.

Frost adds she hopes people continue their support for survivors year-round, not just on Sept. 30.

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

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