B.C. man donates his pay for national reconciliation ‘holiday,’ then launches national campaign

Click to play video: 'B.C. man donates his pay for national reconciliation ‘holiday’'
B.C. man donates his pay for national reconciliation ‘holiday’
As Canadians observe the national day for truth and reconciliation tomorrow, one Vancouver man is taking it one step further and plans to pay it forward --quite literally – Sep 29, 2021

A Vancouver resident who decided to donate a day’s pay on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation has sparked a movement that’s raised more than $45,000 for Indigenous organizations.

Joshua Hensman, a city government worker, said he decided to donate a day’s worth of earnings because he felt “conflicted” about being paid for the national holiday on Sept. 30.

“I was a relatively privileged white guy and I was going to be getting a paid day off on a day that was supposed to be recognizing and honouring Indigenous peoples, and that just didn’t seem right to me,” Hensman said.

Shortly after he made the call to donate his own salary to Indigenous organizations, Hensman decided to encourage others to do the same.

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He founded the One Day’s Pay campaign, which according to its website, is an “invitation to all Canadians to meaningfully recognize this new federal statutory ‘holiday’ with more than reflection.”

In the single week that it’s been accepting public donations, Hensman estimates the campaign has raised $50,000.

Click to play video: 'Ghislain Picard calls for more action on eve of Truth and Reconciliation Day'
Ghislain Picard calls for more action on eve of Truth and Reconciliation Day

“Obviously one person donating their day’s pay doesn’t go too far, but I knew there were a lot of other Canadians that were feeling the same way I was,” he explained.

“They had been reflecting and hearing about Indigenous issues for a long time, and probably felt some frustration or inability to act, and just didn’t know what to do.”

All funds raised through One Day’s Pay will go to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, the Orange Shirt Day/Every Child Matters Society, and the National Association of Friendship Centres.

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Hensman has also partnered up with the The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, an Indigenous-led organization that helps mobilize the “settler philanthropic sector,” and said response to the One Day’s Pay campaign has been very positive.

“It’s important that while often we don’t know what to do, giving cash to organizations that can use it in a really important way is a great thing to do,” he said.

“That’s not a solution, it’s just a step in the right direction.”

Hensman said he hopes to bring the One Day’s Pay campaign back next year, but for the moment, is “overwhelmed with all the support” from Canadians this year.

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