Ottawa high school students create Black Lives Matter shirts that can be worn at school

OTTAWA — A group of high school students was so inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that they’re now literally wearing it.

Students at Notre Dame Catholic High School in Ottawa’s west end have designed and sold BLM t-shirts, which are allowed to be worn as part of their school uniform.

Mireya Poon Young is a Grade 12 student at the school and said the movement inspired her.

“When something like that is going on in the world, you can’t just sit idly by and watch that happen.”

She’s on the student council and said that what started as a student council project grew into something bigger. 

“As Black students, the movement itself is very important and it’s important that as a school and an institution, you show your support to what matters.”

They created t-shirts and merchandise to honour and raise awareness.

“It’s a great time to come out and do this because a lot of people are listening.”

Christian Henry is a Grade 11 student and another member of the student council. 

“We thought it was important to stand up for the causes that are not only close to our hearts, but close to the hearts of all students.” 

Initially an idea to celebrate Black History Month, a small group of students took on the entire project, including the design. Daisy Thang created the logos and layout on the t-shirts.

“I’m overjoyed,” Thang said. “I’m super proud just as an individual that they like they design enough to want to wear it but also that they see this movement as something that they want to support and they’re proud to walk around and show.”

That design can also be worn at school as part of its uniform. Teachers and staff have even been inspired to wear the shirts. 

“That really made me smile because it showed us as students that staff wants to support us and they’re here for us,” said Henry.

Daniel Langlois is a Grade 12 student and thinks the shirts are great. 

“People are showing their support, so you understand their viewpoint and you know you can start a dialogue with them because they’ve put this on themselves.”

Charity Corbett is the chaplaincy leader at the school and said the project is in line with the school’s Catholic values. 

“The Church teaches about the dignity of the human person; all people, all the time,” she tells CTV News Ottawa. “As a Catholic school, we have the responsibility, as Catholics do, to be at the forefront of seeing that dignity be honoured.”

The school said that the first run of 250 shirts sold out in a few days and they have ordered a second run. The school subsidized the first run. Proceeds from all of the sales are being donated to Agnes Zabali Boys and Girls Club in Uganda.

Other schools are also taking notice and are looking at adopting the design and idea. 

“I thought that was really inspiring to see,” said Henry. “Notre-Dame, our little small community, leading change in all these other schools across Ottawa.” 

The shirts are available for anyone to purchase, by e-mailing the school directly at notredame.high@ocsb.ca

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