This is my column from the November edition of our diocesan newspaper. This finally gets me caught up! Kudos to my Canadian friend Dan for the story
I need to be honest up front. I've never been a fan of pink (the color not the singer). It's not a color I look good in. Over the last couple decades I've seen pink become a color that was no longer a “girl” color and many more men wearing pink and looking pretty good in it. For me personally it remains at the very bottom of the favorite colors list.
So what's with all this “pink think”? A friend in Canada pointed me to a story from back at the beginning of the school year. Two seniors at a high school in Nova Scotia heard that a 9th grader had been harassed early in the school year because he wore a pink shirt to school. A group of bullies decided to give this young man a very hard time, just because they didn't like the color of shirt he chose that day. Those two seniors (David Shepard and Travis Price) decided they couldn't let that slide. They went out and bought about 50 pink shirts at a discount store, got in touch with all their friends and asked them to wear the shirts as a protest against bullying.
What happened was astounding. All 50 shirts were claimed. Dozens of other students came dressed in their own pink shirts, dyed their hair pink, rode to school on pink bicycles. One male student bought a pink dress and wore it to school, another was dressed in pink from head to toe. The original bullied student was stunned by the support he saw when he walked into school that day by all accounts. They described the scene as a “sea of pink”.
The story doesn't end there. Within days other schools in Nova Scotia picked up the idea and hundreds of students came to their schools in pink. It's become a symbol for the desire of the young people to have peaceful schools.
So what does this have to do with youth ministry in western New York? I think they're a great role model for the young people of our diocese. They didn't wait till their parents or youth leaders or clergy or teachers or some rock star told them to do something. These young people saw injustice, refused to accept it and stepped forward to take a stand against it. David Shepard has a great quote “I’ve stood around too long and I wanted to do something “.
The challenge for the church is to make sure we're preparing our young people to look at the world prepared to change it.
The challenge for our young people is to have the courage to “wear pink”.