Next Friday, April 19, is the National Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people and their allies. As in previous years, students take a deliberate vow of silence to echo the silence caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. Participating in the Day of Silence can be a positive tool for change – both personally and community-wide. By taking a vow of silence, youth are making a powerful statement about the important issue of anti-LGBT bullying, and when you organize others to join you that message becomes stronger.
While it is important for students to take part in campaigns like the Day of Silence, it is with the understanding that their education is the top priority. Students are aware of their rights about participating, including the fact that they may NOT have the right to stay silent during instructional time if a teacher requests they speak. Students are encouraged to talk with their teachers ahead of time. Silent participation is ideal, but we understand may not be completely feasible.
In addition to the vow of silence, I invite participants to journal about their experiences throughout the day, and we can share that in the ‘Breaking The Silence’ group discussion at the end of the day.
As always, I look forward to your continued collaboration in our work towards making Truman a ‘No Place For Hate’ campus for a fourth consecutive year!