On Orange Shirt Day lets remember the residential schools and the harm they caused.

Today is Orange Shirt Day.

I invite us all to remember why this is important. It is a reflection of the residential schools, the last of which was closed in 1991. The ripples of residential schools reverberate in our society today, and reconciliation only truly begins after when the wrongs are ended.

Morgane Oger on Orange Shirt Day. Photo: L. H.

Morgane Oger on Orange Shirt Day. Photo: L. H.

"Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in the spring of 2013. It grew out of Phyllis Webstad' story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually. "

- orangeshirtday.org

People are imperfect, and as a result, those wishing to act as allies are too. However, allies are also important when translation and support are needed. Allies are important when there is a need to speak up to bring in the right voices to speak for themselves. For us all to be better allies, we have to listen and pay attention to what communities tell us is their priority. I am not an indigenous person.

I am not an indigenous person. I am not personally affected by the anti-indigenous sentiment and the colonization of this land. Despite not personally facing the stigma and the injustice indigenous persons in Canada face, I do have family from the Mohawk nation. My cousin Dee is from Kanesatake (Oka), a place that is so familiar with colonial oppression. My father had the honour be being adopted into the Kwakwakwa nation a number of years ago.

As a transgender woman, I know and live different stigma and oppression. Through my own experiences, I also recognize the oppression of my First Nations cousins and my relations in my own way. It saddens me and offends me that we still have this problem on this land today.

I pledge to do what I can about this where I have the power to do so.

"The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. It also gives teachers time to plan events that will include children, as we want to ensure that we are passing the story and learning on to the next generations."

- orangeshirtday.org

If I am elected to the Vancouver Board of Education, I will work to make it the School Board of reconciliation. I will engage with indigenous elders and parents, and I will listen to students. I am not a first nations person but have cousins who are, and my father was adopted into theToday, however, let's all remember that many wrongs have been wrought upon indigenous children and Orange Shirt Day

To learn more about Orange Shirt Day, please visit http://www.orangeshirtday.org

Morgane Oger