New orange shirts a statement of hope
Each year, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. But Truth and Reconciliation happens every day of the year in health care, as we are called to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. This is why VCH is committed to reconciliation and learning and to providing the best care, informed by the history and culture of Indigenous peoples. This is why every act towards reconciliation is of consequence.
For many, wearing an orange shirt is an act of solidarity and a marker of their personal commitment to reconciliation. “Providing care to people means caring for the whole person and their loved ones. It’s important to me to help create safe spaces for my patients and colleagues and wearing an orange shirt communicates that value. Every Child Matters,” says Allana Leblanc, ICU Clinical Nurse Specialist at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).
Likewise, VGH Palliative Nurse Specialist Julie Lockington says, “Wearing an orange shirt is one way for me to communicate my commitment to providing culturally safe health care to my patients and colleagues. It’s about working together in solidarity.”
But what could this mean to someone like Phyllis Webstad, a member of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation who was only six when she was sent to residential school? Phyllis proudly wore a shiny orange shirt her granny gave her which, upon arrival at a residential school, was stripped away from her. This was the beginning of a prolonged attempt to strip away her culture and identity. Orange shirts are consequential. They are meaningful.
This year, we have collaborated with Candace Campo, a local Coast Salish designer to create a VCH orange shirt option that you can order through our online store. Sizes S – 3XL are $13.95
“When Canadians wear an orange shirt it is a statement and action that gives our people hope. It is a part of our history that needs to be understood and we are in our early phase of communicating the truth,” says Candace Campo who made the art for the shirt.
The shirt features ‘The Eye of the Creator’ which is a universal Coast Salish symbol integrated into Coast Salish art work and often placed on paddle blades when travelling by Canoe. “When a guest showed up on your shore the paddlers would show the Eye of the Creator side of the paddle. It highlighted that travellers came in peace,” says Candace.
Paddling is an apt analogy, because as oneVCH we are pulling in the same direction to deliver culturally safe care and an exceptional care experience for all. On our collective journey towards reconciliation, we strive to do better, every day.
Let’s wear orange on September 30 and on any day. We encourage you to post your photo in an orange shirt in the photo gallery.
What does the orange shirt mean to you? Share in our comments section below.
While this is an exciting time in our organization's history and essential for reconciliation, we understand that sharing the truths of colonialism may be difficult. A list of support services for Indigenous Peoples is available on oneVCH. Staff, medical staff and families also have access to confidential counselling and wellness services through LifeWorks at 1-833-533-1577.
"Every Child Matters" Orange T-Shirt
Orders will be grouped and delivered to the location you select at check out. Please check the size chart below to ensure you have selected the correct sizing. Each T-Shirt will be individually packaged and tagged with your order number. An email will be sent to advise you when your order can be picked up.
Orange T-Shirt Sizing Chart
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 02 August, 2023.