04/09/2014 12:38 EDT | Updated 04/09/2014 12:59 EDT

Pink Shirt Day Combats Bullying, Bonds Students

Sarah Martinet via Getty Images

Are you rocking a pink shirt today?

Known as the International Day of Pink (also known as Pink Shirt Day), April 9 is dedicated to ending discrimination and all forms of bullying.

The tradition of wearing pink on this day started at a Nova Scotia high school, Central Kings Rural High School in 2007, after two straight students stood up for a gay student who was wearing a pink shirt and being bullied, reported the CBC. The students decided to wear pink in solidarity of the bullying victim. Their selfless act of kindness caught the attention of not only their schoolmates, but students worldwide.

On its website, the Day of Pink defines its message clearly: “anyone can bully, any can be victimized by bullying, but together we can stop it.”

Children who are bullied often experience mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, which can last through adulthood, according to the RCMP website. In extreme cases of bullying, children can even become suicidal. Unfortunately, bullying is very common in Canada. A 2004 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that about one in seven children between ages 11 and 16 have experienced bullying.

Today, students, teachers, parents, and politicians (and just about everyone else) participate by wearing pink shirts, reaching out to victims and educating others about the terrible effects of bullying.

This great way to renew people’s commitment to open-mindedness and respect for all is something we should try to remember each day, with pink shirts on or not.

Check out these amazing ways people across Canada are celebrating Pink Day: