A few years ago, The LAMP was presenting at a conference when a couple of people in our session came to speak with us afterwards. “We love your Fading Away from the Stereotypes video,” they said, referring to a short film created by a group of elementary students in one of our workshops. “We show it in school on every Pink Shirt Day.” Of course we were excited, but had to ask – what the heck is Pink Shirt Day?
As they informed us Yankees, Pink Shirt Day is a bullying awareness day in Canada. It began when two students at a high school in Nova Scotia learned that a male classmate was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school, and wore pink shirts themselves to stand with him in solidarity. Fading Away from the Stereotypes was created in 2009 by a group of students at P.S. 107 in Brooklyn during one of The LAMP’s Short Form Documentary workshops, and focuses on one of the student’s experience being bullied for wearing pink. It also touches on the sister of one of the students, who is bullied for being a “tomboy.” In the workshop, the students had the chance to make a film about any subject they wanted, and they decided to use the opportunity to speak up about bullying in their school and community. It was a brave choice, and even five years later, the film demonstrates the power of youth-made media for social change, and provides a stark reminder of just how deeply prejudices and cultural expectations are embedded in both children and adults.
The film was featured in the Rhino in the Room International Queer Film Festival in 2010, and the students won an award for their work from Windows of Opportunity, Inc/WOO Films in 2011. Over the years, it’s also been shared all over the web and has racked up just over 25,000 views. Not bad for a team of fifth-grade filmmakers. Whether you’ve seen it before or are new to the party, today is a great day to take a few minutes out for Fading Away from the Stereotypes. Check it out, share it with friends and raise awareness about bullying on Pink Shirt Day and every day!