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Power of kindness
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Power of kindness

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Did you know that today is Pink Shirt Day? This anti-bullying movement is celebrated across the globe on the last Wednesday of February in schools, and even in some workplaces.

Pink Shirt Day was started in 2007 after two boys from Nova Scotia — David Shepherd and Travis Price — organized a high school protest in their school. The boys, along with their friends, decided to wear pink shirts in solidarity and in honour of a fellow student, who was also a boy, had been bullied for wearing pink.

The story goes that Shepherd and Price bought 50 pink shirts from a discount store after hatching the plan for their anti-bullying protest, and the following day they handed the shirts out to students in the foyer of their school. When the kid who had been bullied came into school that day, “his face spoke volumes… It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,” Price said in an interview with the The Globe and Mail. (You can read more about Pink Shirt Day here)

The power of kindness is magic.

Speaking of kindness, I have a fun little story to share about a really nice thing that happened to my daughter Riel. A random act of kindness from Mayor Brian Bowman, of all people. (I’ll also go ahead and say that this is not a partisan post, nor a political endorsement in any way. It’s just a story of a person who went out of their way to be nice to a kid.)

Recently, I posted on Twitter how my six-year-old often talks about “the mayor” – not meaning Bowman specifically, but just the entity of the mayor in general. She thinks the mayor runs the city, and one morning on our way to school she asked me if the mayor runs all the banks.

I think her understanding of civic politics and the role of mayor comes from the cartoon Paw Patrol (though she is now, in her opinion, too old for this show). One of the main characters is a woman named Mayor Goodway who is always rescued from hijinks thanks to the Paw Patrol.

Anyway, I told her no, that the mayor doesn’t run the banks but that he runs a lot of things in the city. Afterwards, I tweeted about this interaction because I thought it was cute. Mayor Bowman saw the tweet and sent me a message to ask if Riel would be interested in having a FaceTime call to chat. (I do know the Bowmans, though not terribly well. If we were to see each other out and about we would stop and say hello and maybe have a bit of a conversation… friendly acquaintances, I suppose?)

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The next day the Bowmans FaceTimed my daughter, and though she was shy at first, she was thrilled to be able to ask the mayor questions and see what their house looked like in the background. She bounced through the house, showing off our messy kitchen and talking about what she had for dinner. The call only lasted a few minutes, but it made her feel important.

Kindness is powerful.

Thanks for taking time to read my newsletter. I hope you stay warm and have a wonderful day!

Shelley Cook

Shelley Cook, Columnist

Shelley Cook

GOOD NEWS THIS WEEK

David Sanderson wrote about Marla’s Puzzle Pantry… Well, he wrote about Marla, the name and heart behind the local home-based puzzle business that has taken off since the pandemic hit. I won’t reveal the story, but I loved reading it because it’s always so nice to see someone start something they’re really passionate about.

Marla Aronovitch, owner of Marla’s Puzzle Pantry, at her home working on a puzzle. (JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

Kevin Rollason wrote a story about Beatrice Feduik’s obituary — a beautiful tribute to a mother, volunteer, and kindergarten teacher who died on Feb. 12 at age 94. The obit, published in the Free Press, reads like a resume to get into heaven. A tweet of the obituary went viral and has been reported about in Newsweek, the New York Post and Daily Mail, as well as numerous other websites and blogs. You can read Kevin’s story here.

Beatrice Fediuk’s obituary was written by her daughter and was published in the Free Press on Saturday. (JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

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To mark Black History Month, sports reporter Taylor Allen has been writing a weekly series that highlights incredible accomplishments made by Black athletes and coaches in Manitoba. This week, Taylor wrote about Eldon (Pokey) Reddick, who played for the Winnipeg Jets in the mid to late 1980s. Back then, he was one of only two Black goalies in the NHL. It was so nice to catch up with Pokey Reddick in this story and to see how he’s doing… Also, did you know his son was dating Billie Eilish?

Reddick with the book Perfect! that dives into the 1993 Fort Wayne Komets’ championship run where they went 12-0 in the postseason. Reddick started all 12 of those games. (Winnipeg Free Press files)

Mike Sawatzky wrote about Manitoba’s newest Olympic gold medalist Ashton Bell, and her return from the Beijing Olympics after winning gold with Team Canada’s Women’s hockey!

Manitoban Ashton Bell after Team Canada beat the US in the Olympic gold-medal final in Beijing. (SUPPLIED)

READER BRIDGE

Malak Abas and Maggie Mcintosh wrote a story about Tina Chen, a distinguished professor of history whose academic work focuses on modern China, who became the first executive lead of equity, diversity and inclusion at the University of Manitoba on Feb. 1.

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