One Wednesday, not so long ago, a large number of Croatians dressed up in pink shirts. With this gesture they participated in commemorating the Pink Shirt Day. The Pink Shirt Day is celebrated on the last Wednesday in February, and this year it will be celebrated on the 22nd of February.
But where does the Pink Shirt Day come from? What is being said with the pink shirts? The Pink Shirt Day is a program which was created with the aim of peer violence prevention. The idea for conducting this program appeared because of peer violence in a school in Canada. The boy in Canada came to his first day of school dressed in a pink shirt as a sign of support towards his ill mother. The pink shirt caused violence from his school peers. As a sign of support towards the boy and with the aim of protesting peer violence, the boy’s friends also wore a pink shirt.
In Croatia, Pink Shirt Day has been commemorated four years in a row, and each year the number of participants increases. The idea carrier in Croatia is the Center for Education and Violence Prevention. On their Facebook page they have announced how this year about one million participants commemorated Pink Shirt Day. Pink Shirt Day was also commemorated by large number of schools which influences the reduction of peer violence.
Encouraged by the attack at the Super Super nightclub, in which a LGBT party was being held, the Civil Society Organization Iskorak launched a campaign called #Iamagainsthatred. The mission of Iskorak is to promote and protect the human rights of the citizens of the Republic of Croatia, in particular the human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) persons, and commitment to their participation in society as equal citizens of the Republic of Croatia.
On the web portal Libela it says that the campaign was launched to “warn of increased hate speech and violence in public spaces and to show everyone that they will not be silent and watch the foundations of the state collapse under the excuse of tradition and patriotism while the ruling parties relativize hate speech and violence against all who are different”.
The campaign can be joined by anyone by leaving an anti-hate and violence message on the wall, sharing posts on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) ad donating to the campaign.
On 14 February 2017, Rijeka joined many Croatian and global cities with a manifestation that was held exactly at noon at the Theatre Square. This manifestation was part of the global campaign One Billion Rising where, through song and dance, women conveyed their message „No to violence against women! “.
This biggest global campaign against violence against women and girls is held every year on the 14th of February, on Valentine’s Day with a clear message that love isn’t violence. The campaign One Billion Rising has focused on the fight against the exploitation of women, whether it is economical, sexual, social or cultural.
In a brief speech, the organizers warned that as many as 11.4 million women and girls are victims of forced labor and that in more than 90 countries around the world, women do not have the same rights to owning and using the land, and they continue to earn on the average only 60-75% of the wage men earn. Additionally, they have also warned that over 60 million girls are forced into marriage before the age of 18 and that human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation of women and girls is the fastest growing criminal activity that generates a profit.
Organized by PaRiter and the SOS telephone, in front of the Croatian National Theatre of Ivan Pl.Zajc a choreographed dance was performed on the song Break the Chain, which is the official song of the campaign. The dance was traditionally led by the dance groups Flame and Lost in Wonderland. The dance was joined by members of the associations, volunteers and other citizens.
Additionally, the organizers briefly supported the LGBTIQ community and condemned the Saturday attack in the Super Super club in Zagreb with a message that love is and remains stronger than hatred!
One Billion Rising- a name of a movement against violence against girls and women that has been commemorated for 10 years in more than 200 countries. In Croatia, the Vinkovci Vocational School joined this movement. 200 students stated, with a dance choreography, that they are rising against any form of violence, especially against women and girls.
It is about raising awareness of how much violence there is around us and that they start fighting against violence from the very beginning. If we don’t start teaching them from the onset, they won’t realize how wrong violence is and that it should be stood up to-said Stefanie Jade Horvat, a psychologist from the Vocational School of Vinkovci.
The school has been participating in this project for three years. This kind of participation in a global project against violence is praise-worthy. The event is also symbolic-as it is held on Valentine’s Day-the Day of Love.