BC Lions to give 350 tickets to residential school survivors

BC-Lions

BC Lions to give 350 tickets to residential school survivors, mark Orange Shirt Day at game against Roughriders.

Hundreds of tickets to a CFL game scheduled shortly before the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be given to survivors of Canada's residential school system.

The BC Lions will be giving away 350 tickets to survivors and other Indigenous partners for the game on Sept. 24, the club announced Thursday.

Both teams will be wearing orange spatting as part of their uniforms that day in recognition of the upcoming holiday on Sept. 30. Their hope is that fans in the stands will also wear orange to the game at Vancouver's BC Place.

To help create a "sea of orange," the Lions will give away 10,000 orange shirts to the first fans who arrive at the stadium, which feature a stylized rendition of the BC Lions logo created by Kwakwaka'wakw/Tlingit artist Corrine Hunt.

Those involved hope fans will also wear the shirts on Sept. 30.

That day, which for the first time ever will be a statutory holiday in B.C., has long been marked as Orange Shirt Day in recognition of survivors and their families.

It's part of a partnership between the Orange Shirt Society, the BC Lions Football Club, the Ending Violence Association of B.C. and the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc nation.

Premier John Horgan was part of the announcement made live on Thursday, and said the day will be one to recognize intergenerational trauma faced by Indigenous peoples.

"We honour the resilience and strength of survivors, families and communities across the country."

Horgan said he encourages everyone in B.C. to wear orange that day, and to take time to consider the ongoing impact of the system.

"By now it’s no secret that thousands of Indigenous children across the country did not make it home from school," said B.C. Tourism Minister Melanie Mark, whose grandparents attended residential schools.

She called the new partnership "reconciliation in action."

Speaking at the news conference, Mark became visibly emotional multiple times.

"We are going to stand up in solidarity and remember that every child matters," she said through tears.

She urged British Columbians to learn more about the 94 calls to action identified as ways to advance reconciliation. Quoting Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair Murray Sinclair, she said, "Education got us into this mess, and education is going to get us out. So please, step up."

- with files from CTV -