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The Story of #WhiteHoodieFriday

Friday, June 10, 2016 4:56 AM

Growing up in our house in Sarnia, everyone listened when my dad spoke.  My dad can have a big, booming voice and a very commanding presence.  You assumed he meant business with just about everything he said, but probably never so much so as when he reminded us of the first, and most unbreakable rule in the house: nobody was ever to hit our mother.

That was how the rule was phrased, “You NEVER hit your mother”.  And, to be sure, it was a literal rule.  Even if you were joking around and playfully pretended to give her a nudge or chuck to the arm, my dad’s laughter would turn to a glare I can see to this day.  That rule was never to be tested.  But, even as were instructed to take it literally, there was a not-so-subtle underlying philosophy to holding this rule as the central, most important, most oft-noted in the house: women are to be valued, respected, treated with dignity, and, when necessary, protected.

But, my dad also never saw the women and girls in our house as weak.  I’m vividly remembering coming downstairs one Christmas morning and finding two fully-loaded toolboxes under the Christmas tree for my sister and me.  And I can hear my dad’s words about that toolbox to this day: never become dependent on someone to do things for you.  You’re perfectly talented, skilled and capable of doing things yourself.

And so it didn’t surprise me at all when my dad announced last fall that he was going to wear a white hoodie every Friday to show his solidarity with the work of One Spark and to hold it as his personal sign that mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, co-workers are NEVER to be abused in any way.  People that have heard my dad does this, or seen him in his white sweatshirt, think its brilliant.  So, with his blessing, we adopted it as a signature campaign and asked our creative partners, CCI Studios, to bring it to life, which they beautifully did with our new #BeAMaverick campaign, which you can check out at

To be part of the campaign, all you have to do is wear a white sweatshirt on Friday as a sign of your intolerance of violence against women (and if you are feeling really inspired, make it a group or office event!).  If you don’t have a white sweatshirt, we are selling them with our Maverick logo on the sleeve:  All of the proceeds will go to One Spark’s programs helping women to establish financial sustainability in order to move forward from their experiences with violence. To give visibility to the work of One Spark and your amazing Maverickness, post your white hoodie pics on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) with the hashtags #BeAMaverick #WhiteHoodieFriday and #onespark.

The impact of men speaking out on violence against women is critical to meaningful change.  Please consider becoming an advocate of this campaign.  And please use your voice to uphold my dad’s ubreakable rule of zero tolerance of violence against women.


One Spark Executive Director