WorkLink staff showed their support for Orange Shirt Day with a symbolic song and an awareness walk along Sooke Road.
About 20 staff members dressed in orange shirts were greeted with friendly waves from pedestrians and enthusiastic honks from motorists as they marched from the WorkLink Society office at the corner of Sooke and Jacklin roads to Belmont Market to highlight the importance of Sept. 30.
Events on Orange Shirt Day are devoted to commemorating the residential school experience by witnessing and honouring the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to reinforcing the commitment to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
Ahousaht singer Ren Wikinanish Louie shared the Ahousaht Prayer Song before the group headed out.
“This song is shared by our Nation and honours the survivors who are still with us today, as well as the 6,000-plus children who didn’t return home from their residential school,” Louie said. “The song also honours the children who did return home, but who have since passed on. As a singer, every time I sing on Orange Shirt Day, I’m mindful of the children who didn’t get to experience their culture.”
Peter Doukakis, executive director for WorkLink, said Orange Shirt Day reaffirms to the survivors of residential schools that they matter. “And so do those who have been affected,” he added. “Every child matters, even if they are an adult, from now on.”
The WorkLink Employment Society offices in Sooke and Langford are proud to provide employment-related services to the Esquimalt, T’Souke and Songhees First Nations, on whose land our buildings stand, Doukakis said.
“We also assist the people of Beecher Bay and Pachdeedaht First Nations,” he noted.
Participants in the services must be registered clients with WorkBC. Visit workbccentre-sooke.ca or workbccentre-langford.ca and click on the register tab.