A parade of vehicles, horses and even a flyby performed by local pilots, converged on Mission’s waterfront today (Jan. 17) as a show of solidarity and support for a transgender student who was bullied and beaten by two fellow Grade 8 students from École Heritage Park Middle School last week.
Donning the symbolism of Pink Shirt Day (anti-bullying) the vehicles drove past the student who was watching the event with their family.
Participants waved signs, cheered and some even dropped off gifts as they offered support, while still following Covid-19 safety precautions.
Event organizer Clark Jahn – who also helped organize the recent 4×4 Christmas fleet parade – said the rally is a way to show that bullying is not acceptable in this day and age.
“It’s time to take a stand and put a stop to it. It’s time to grow up, treat each other with love and kindness and make this world a better place,” said Jahn.
He was thrilled with the public’s response noting that thousands of people took part in the parade. He also said he doesn’t think this will be the only event held for this cause.
The student’s family were also pleased by the way the community came together in support.
“It’s overwhelming. We drove past earlier and saw cars going all the way out to the highway and even further. I can’t wait to see all of the support that’s coming out, not only for my daughter but for all of the other kids that have been bullied as well,” said the student’s mother.
“I think the reaction has kind of started a movement, if you would, because there are more parents that are stepping up now too. … More people are starting to stand up for everything now and I think that the horrible situation that happened is being put into play, something is being down about bullying,” she added.
The event, which took place on the Braich property, attracted many local dignitaries including Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canton MP Brad Vis, Coun Ken Herar and Mission’s Acting-Mayor Jag Gill.
“Everybody has been bullied or everyone knows somebody who has been bullied so I think everyone in those vehicles is representing somebody they know,” said Gill.
“Mission is a zero tolerance community for bullying. There’s no place for bullying in Mission. Myself, I was bullied in high school. I understand the importance of this event. It’s an event that will help the community heal, he said.”