VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A Vancouver man who felt “conflicted” being given paid time off to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is donating one day’s wage to Indigenous-led organizations, and is encouraging other Canadians to do the same.
Josh Hensman says the idea was born out of a desire to move from reflection to action.
“It’s a day that’s supposed to be to recognize and honour the survivors of residential schools, and here’s me — a relatively privileged guy — that’s going to be getting a paid day off. It just didn’t seem right to me,” he tells NEWS 1130, adding that the initiative is meant to be by and for settlers.
“Canadians are settlers in these lands. So far, a lot of the work of reconciliation has been done by Indigenous people. I think it’s really important that Canadians step up. Our main goal is to get money in the hands of Indigenous people, and then let them do what they think is best.”
Meet Josh! Thanks to his own call to action the #OneDaysPay campaign was created! Why did Josh feel compelled to act?
Find out! pic.twitter.com/YEVEmOwe7Y
— One Day's Pay (@GiveOneDaysPay) September 24, 2021
Hensman wanted to go beyond just contributing his own pay, so he launched a campaign asking people who can afford to pitch in and business leaders to follow suit.
“I thought, if I can encourage and motivate other Canadians to do the same, then that would be something that’s could have a big impact.
Money raised will go to three organizations; The Indian Residential School Survivors Society, Orange Shirt Day Society/Every Child Matters Society, and the National Association of Friendship Centres. The groups are tracking donations made by supporters of the campaign. As of Tuesday, more than $40,000 had been raised.
Hensman says while taking time to pause is important, more needs to be done.
“It’s really important for Canadians to move beyond reflection about Indigenous issues and reconciliation, and actually start to take action,” he says.
“So for those of us that are privileged enough to have good full-time jobs, and to be getting a paid day off on Sept. 30, I think it’s really important for us to take that step and donate.”
The campaign has been endorsed by The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.
“Feeling proud as a Canadian requires a willingness to face the harm that this country has done and continues to do — pride is a more powerful motivator for change than shame,” says Kris Archie, CEO in a statement.
“One Day’s Pay came to us and said they were going to raise money for Indigenous-led organizations. They are willing to face the truth and invite others to do the same while taking action by giving cash back. It’s a first step and a captivating idea that we’re glad to support.”