Every year on the third or fourth Wednesday in October, a very special event comes around — the Day of Unity, or Unity Day, as it is commonly called, which is celebrated on October 16 this year. This is the signature event of National Bullying Prevention Month, also celebrated in October. Multiple anti-bullying campaigns — of which Unity Day is one of them, are organized during this period. The key message of this month, and this day, is to unite for kindness, courage, and inclusion, to prevent students from being bullied.
History of Unity Day
If you thought bullying was unique to certain cultures or civilizations, think again! In fact, bullying is also not simply a ‘human’ concept; animals exhibit such behavior too.
This unfortunate trend has been around since hunter-gatherers roamed the Earth, and is unfortunately all too common around the globe at present. The effects, too, are the same everywhere. A study spanning multiple countries even proved that bullying was common all over the world, and so were its effects. While the study showed variations in the targeted individuals, in no place was bullying completely absent.
No one culture is responsible for creating this behavior; this tendency to coerce, intimidate, or harm others is likely evolutionary, scientists say. Man had to fight for everything once, and this attitude persists today.
People have always wondered about the motivation behind this behavior, hence the studies conducted on bullying. These were sporadic, however, until Dan Olweus’s 1978 study. After studying school children and their overt behavior, he described bullying as ‘physical harm.’ Various forms of indirect bullying did not enter his description. His research proved a strong base for others — educationists, psychologists, sociologists, and criminologists — to study bullying.
Since Olweus, the description of bullying has evolved to include subtler forms of oppression, like verbal abuse and social exclusion. The attitude towards bullying — which was once considered a normal part of growing up — is changing; we recognize it as a social problem that must be addressed.
The Minnesota-based PACER Center initially championed children with disabilities. These guys realized the importance of anti-bullying campaigns to make children feel safe and secure in school. They launched their National Bullying Prevention Center in 2006 and then launched the National Bullying Prevention Month campaign in 2011. Unity Day is a crucial part of PACER’s anti-bullying campaign. On this day, people online, in schools, and in communities come out to stand up against bullying. PACER has updated its tagline to read “Together against bullying. United for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.” They aim to increase focus on positive behaviors that reduce bullying and transform schools and online worlds for the better.
Unity Day timeline
A novel by Thomas Hughes titled “Tom Brown's School Days” becomes famous for its account of the school bully, Flashman.
The first published announcement on bullying since 1790 appears in “The Times” after the death of a soldier; the writer mentions that bullying is considered a part of human nature and is frequent in schools, camps, barracks, or ships’ crews.
Psychologist Dan Olweus documents research that becomes the flagship method of studying bullying.
A multinational study spanning 28 countries across North America and Europe reveals that bullying is a global phenomenon, and so are its effects.
PACER launches National Bullying Prevention Month in October; this event promotes kindness, acceptance, and inclusion through various events and activities.
Unity Day is founded as a part of the National Bullying Prevention Month campaign.
Unity Day FAQs
Why is ORANGE the color of Unity Day?
This color is described as warm and inviting. Also, it is commonly associated with safety, visibility, and protection.
Who started Unity Day?
Unity Day was started by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center in October 2011. It is the lead campaign of National Bullying Prevention Month.
What country celebrates Unity Day?
Canada and the U.S. celebrate this anti-bullying day. Multiple countries — India, Russia, Yemen, Germany, Ukraine, Kazakhstan — also have their very own celebrations named ‘Unity Day’ or a variation of it but the purpose of each celebration differs as per the country.
What month is anti-bullying?
October is National Bullying Prevention Month in the U.S.
How To Celebrate Unity Day
Take a pledge
PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center has created a special website for kids to pledge allegiance against bullying. Check out their website and share the online pledge with your children/students. Encourage them to be kids against bullying!
Share your tale
Have a bullying-related story to tell? Let others, kids included, know what happened and how it impacted you. Inspire others to speak out about such behavior.
Orange has been designated the prime color for this day. Show your support for the cause by putting on something orange. You can even grab a Unity Day signature T-shirt from the official PACER website.
5 Hard-Hitting Facts About Bullying
We need anti-bullying campaigns
The National Center for Education Statistics says one in five students aged 12 to 18 have been bullied in school, with the most common type being verbal harassment followed by social harassment, as per the Youth Truth Student Survey.
Apart from numerous celebrities speaking out against bullying of any kind, everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to Anderson Cooper and the entire cast of “The View” (2018) have stood behind this day.
Major national partners support it too
Disney/ABC Family, Cartoon Network, and others regularly partner with PACER for the month-long campaigns, raising awareness about this day and the cause.
Bullying is common behavior for baboons
Females gang up on weaker females while competing over resources; the lower ranking ones then exhibit stress symptoms and have lower reproductive success than their higher-ranking group mates.
Intervention can stop bullying
Peer intervention on behalf of the person being bullied can put a stop to about 57% of all such situations, according to PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center.
Why We Love Unity Day
Fight back against bullying
Not only do we raise our voices, collectively, but we also encourage positive behaviors with this campaign.
Taking awareness beyond the school
By getting everyone from adults to organizations involved, this event penetrates the very fabric of our communities.
Shows students that someone cares
The day makes it very easy for people around the U.S. to show their support for this cause. People can wear orange, participate in activities, and speak about their own experiences. In doing so, we show students they are not alone and that they have an entire community supporting them.
Unity Day dates