Hundreds of Londoners swapping red and white for orange on July 1

Hundreds of Londoners lined up at the Covent Garden Market to pick up an orange T-shirt in support of Atlohsa Family Healing Services’ campaign, Relighting the Fire of Hope.

It’s an initiative aimed towards creating awareness about the Indigenous lives lost to this country’s residential school system. Money raised from T-shirt sales will go towards Indigenous support resources.

Organizer and director of development for Atlohsa, Alana Lees, says they have sold out of all 3,000 shirts that were available for sale just a couple of weeks ago.

“A lot of people are here today because they want them for July 1 and I fully support that. I feel that July 1 is a time for us this year to pause and to think about what it is we can do to support community."

Meantime, organizers are preparing for the first ever Turtle Island Healing Walk starting Thursday at 10 a.m. at Victoria Park.

“We are going to have a few speeches and the chief come from Kettle Point (First Nation), we will have elders and some survivors of residential schools to come and join us so we can pay our respect to them, as well,” said organizer, Kristina Zakharyan.

At least 1,000 participants are expected including citizens and London officials. Organizers are asking that people wear orange instead of red and white during the event.

For those who do not plan on attending the Turtle Island Healing Walk or wearing an orange shirt on July 1, Lees has some suggestions for other ways you can observe the day.

“Ask questions, talk to your children, support Indigenous authors and artists. But also take a moment to pause and to think about the Indigenous community -- the mourning and the grief. We’re not going to stay here forever but that’s where we are right now,” she said.

For more information about the walk, click here.