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United Way of Calgary campaign launch is #unignorable

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By Darminder Uppal – SAIT Journalism program

The United Way of Calgary and Area has rolled out a new colour, and wrapped a CTrain car in it Wednesday, to get Calgarians to pay attention to the social issues some of their neighbours face.

Calgary Transit’s Oliver Bowen bus storage yard in northeast Calgary provided the backdrop for the campaign launch, which the United Way bills as ‘Unignorable.’

The train, sporting a bright shade created for the campaign by the Pantone Colour Institute and artist Malika Favre, is designed to attract attention to such issues as domestic violence, poverty and mental illness.

“Quite often we can’t see the poverty that our city is facing,” said Karen Young, the CEO and president of United Way of Calgary and Area.

Young explained in an interview that the goal for the campaign is that it will inspire people to take notice and start a conversation, and think about ways to get involved.

“When we all pull together, we can create a bigger impact, and a resilient and caring community where everyone thrives,” she said.

For the campaign, which is a national initiative, Favre designed images to attract attention towards the social issues that are holding people back.

Three different images, one for each of the issues being highlighted, fill the advertising spaces inside the train car.

The exterior of the car is entirely wrapped in the special colour, which is a striking combination of orange and red. It will roll on the regular CTrain system, as a regular passenger car, in coming days.

The Calgary Tower was lit up with the new unignorable colour last week and Peace Bridge was illuminated with the same colour on Oct. 10, the day of the launch.

It’s the organization’s largest national public awareness campaign to date.

United Way is an organization dedicated to solving complex issues and building strong communities. They help improve the lives of over 150,000 people every year.

Although United Way has worked with the City of Calgary on many initiatives, this was the first time they had done a train wrap.

Katie Black, acting general manager of community services with the city, said some people aren’t able to contribute their to society because they are victims of violence, poverty, or mental health problems.

In Calgary, one in 10 people live in poverty.  In most cases, a person facing poverty is trying to live on $7 per day.

Black said that some children who grow up with domestic violence think it’s alright.

“We certainly want to raise awareness and get people involved,” she said.  When people see this campaign, she hopes they’re not afraid to reach out.

“We need to make sure our friends and neighbours know we’re in this together.”

The #unignorable campaign includes a video that can be viewed on United Way’s social channels as well as YouTube.

UW is encouraging people to be a part of the movement by sharing the hashtag #DoLocalGood and #unignorable on social media.

The public can also help by volunteering, or donating to United Way.