Unity Day, a nationwide event created by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center to stand up against bullying, is Wednesday, October 23.
Unity Day has been recognized in the United States since 2011 — Ellen DeGeneres was the first celebrity to participate in the event, and last year, even Disney and ABC participated in Unity Day. Those who want to participate are encouraged to wear and share orange to color the U.S. and show our society believes that no child should experience bullying, according to PACER.
"Orange provides a powerful, visually compelling expression of solidarity," Paula Goldberg, Executive Director of PACER Center, said in a statement. "Whether it's hundreds of individuals at a school wearing orange, store owners offering orange products, or a community changing a landmark to orange, the vibrant statement becomes a conversation starter, sending the supportive, universal message that bullying is never acceptable behavior."
In recent years on Unity Day, students across Los Angeles County celebrated with assemblies, posters, mascots, and civic discussions, and police participation culminating with an anti-bullying pledge.
Here's how to participate in Unity Day:
- Wear something orange you already have, such as clothing, jewelry or accessories.
- Design your own inexpensive orange item, such as a bracelet made from construction paper or ribbon.
- Print and wear the "Why I'm Wearing Orange" badge to prompt conversations about Unity Day.
- Get involved online: Go orange on social media, post photos wearing orange and tag them #UnityDay2019, share your pictures to the 2019 Facebook event page, and send your photos to bullying411@PACER.org to be featured in the annual Facebook album.
Los Angeles schools have taken a decidedly Southern Californian take on Unity Day over the years. In 2017, Los Angeles Unified celebrated Unity Day on Inauguration Day, "In an effort to encourage students to participate in the civic-engagement process and to promote schools as safe and appropriate venues for meaningful dialogue about the presidential election."
In 2018, schools across the county celebrated a month of anti-bullying activities including an assembly to inform immigrant families about the importance of school attendance and provide information about immigrant rights as fear ramped up about ICE raids.
"We want students to feel part of their school, their community and their country," the late Superintendent Michelle King said during last year's celebration.
Roughly 83 percent of teens report having been teased or bullied or teased, according to a national survey by CustomInk. To give kids peer-to-peer support while coping with the pain and isolation that comes with bullying, The Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles offers a teen peer support phone app — Teen Talk in partnership with Teen Line.
Through the app, teens can talk to anonymously trained teen peers for compassionate support and inspiration. Teen Talk now has over 17,000 active users to date. According to a statement from Teen talk, the app is an "outlet for teens in crisis who can discuss a wide range of serious topics such as bullying, sexuality, self-harm, assault, and relationships in a safe and healthy community. For teens who have little parental involvement, who suffer from isolation and social awkwardness, who feel like they have nowhere else to turn, Teen Talk offers a crucial safety net where they feel heard without judgement."
Learn more about Unity Day on PACER's website.