Cop’s Stand Against Bullying Goes Viral
You have the right to remain pink! When two students in Canada witnessed a gay student being harassed for wearing a pink shirt, they started Day of Pink—an event where everyone wears pink to raise awareness of bullying and to celebrate diversity. To show their support, the Toronto Police Department got involved in a very special way.
Officer Ryan Wilmer posted on Twitter that if he got 500 retweets in support of the Day of Pink, using hashtags such as #stopbullyingnow and #dayofpink, his colleague Luke Watson would dye his hair pink in solidarity. All the while, Luke had no idea! When he returned to work, Luke found out about Ryan’s plan and that Ryan had already passed the 500 retweet threshold with 560 retweets. (As of now, the tweet has been retweeted 2,500 times!) So being a good sport, Luke headed to the sink and went pink!
The newly pink-haired officer and his squad attended a local Day of Pink rally in Toronto, rolling up to the scene in a pink police cruiser, as well. Of course, the students loved seeing the officer participate in anti-bullying awareness. “I work closely with the schools, and you see the kids that are happy and the kids that have something on their mind. People can be bullied at any point in time. I want people to be aware of the fact that people might be hurting, and to really see if they can help somebody,” says Luke.
So how long does Luke plan to stay pink? As long as he can raise awareness about bullying, homophobia and discrimination, his hair will remain that shade of bubblegum. “I didn’t think such a simple gesture would become such a big thing, but it has brought awareness and opens up discussion,” says Luke. “Even in the policing atmosphere, it is ok to be different. The message is your friends and family should support you no matter who you are.”