Sixth annual Red Shirt Day to promote accessibility and inclusion

2024 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassadors Chloe Fraser and Shamil Sohail. Photo via Easter Seals Ontario.

Easter Seals Ontario is ready to celebrate Red Shirt Day. Wednesday, May 29, 2024, will be the sixth annual day to promote greater accessibility and inclusion within Kingston and communities everywhere, while also increasing awareness of the valuable contributions people with disabilities make to all aspects of life in Canada.

Red Shirt Day encourages Ontarians and people across the country to proudly wear red as a visible demonstration of support for persons living with disabilities and their families, according to a release from Easter Seals. “By actively participating, we not only acknowledge the remarkable accomplishments of people living with disabilities but also reaffirm our collective commitment to creating a fully accessible and inclusive society,” the organization stated.

Since its establishment in 2019, Red Shirt Day has gained significant momentum, with a growing number of individuals and organizations sharing photos of themselves wearing red on their social media accounts each year, according to Easter Seals.

“By participating in Red Shirt Day, we send a powerful message of solidarity and support to people living with disabilities,” noted Kevin Collins, President and CEO at Easter Seals Ontario. “Together, we can break down barriers and create a future where accessibility and inclusion are the foundation of our communities.”

Held annually on the Wednesday during National AccessAbility Week (NAAW), this year’s Red Shirt Day will take place on Wednesday, May 29, with NAAW scheduled from Sunday, May 26 to Saturday, Jun. 1, 2024.

2024 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassadors, Shamil Sohail and Chloe Fraser, are passionate about building a more inclusive world for kids with physical disabilities and the power of Red Shirt Day in mobilizing Canadians to take action toward increasing accessibility and inclusivity in their schools, workplaces, and communities.

“This day, for me as well as countless others, represents hope and progress on the path to inclusion. By taking part, you are showing your solidarity with people with disabilities all over the world. We appreciate what you are doing in promoting more accessibility and inclusive societies,” shared Sohail.

Fraser contributed her thoughts, saying, “People with disabilities want to be treated the same as everyone else. We don’t want to be stared at because we look different or use a wheelchair. Wearing a red shirt shows your support and helps people understand that we can all make changes to make everyone feel comfortable in their environment.”

“We encourage everyone across Ontario to join us in celebrating Red Shirt Day,” continued Collins, noting that there are several ways to get involved:

  • On Wednesday, May 29, 2024, post a selfie or a group photo with friends, classmates or colleagues – all wearing red – on social media, using the hashtags #RedShirtDay, and #RedForAccessAbility and tag @EasterSealsON.
  • Make a commitment or ‘pledge’ to take action to create greater accessibility and inclusion for individuals living with disabilities in your school, workplace, or community and share your Red Shirt Day Pledge on social media. Find pledge forms here: https://redshirtday.org/resources/
  • Engage your colleagues, community, and local disability and advocacy groups to determine how you can contribute to supporting efforts to create greater accessibility and inclusion for Canadians living with disabilities.

For more information and ideas, visit RedShirtDay.org.

Since 1922, Easter Seals Ontario has been a leading provider of programs and services for children and youth with physical disabilities. The organization is a registered charity committed to empowering individuals with physical disabilities to reach their full potential and make their own positive impact on the world, according to the release.

Easter Seals offers a wide range of programs and services, including mobility and accessibility equipment funding, accessible summer camps, post-secondary scholarships, youth ambassadors, and advocacy and public awareness. According to the organization, Easter Seals is only able to provide these programs thanks to the generous support of its donors and sponsors. For more information or to donate, visit EasterSeals.org.

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