This Friday, April 17 marks GLSEN’s 20th annual Day of Silence, one of the nation’s largest student-led days of action. Thousands of students across the country will take a vow of silence as a symbolic representation of the silencing effect of anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender name-calling, bullying, and harassment experienced by LGBT students and their allies.
Silence is a powerful organizing tool that goes back generations. One reason people choose silence is because it can be used to show peaceful solidarity among participants. On the Day of Silence, students use silence as a tool to bring awareness to the experiences many LGBT youth still face each day as they walk the hallways and classrooms where they aren’t allowed to thrive being who they are. By taking a vow of silence, students bring the silencing effects of bullying and harassment to the consciousness of their school community and foster an environment where change in their schools and communities is possible.
|Silence speaks volumes. You can amplify the message.|
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. They are aware of their rights about participating, knowing they may NOT have the right to stay silent during instructional time if a teacher requests they speak. Students will be reminded to talk with their teachers ahead of time. Silent participation is ideal, but we understand may not be completely feasible. Under no circumstances will a student participate in the day as an excuse to not participate in class. If you suspect this to be the case, please let me know.
In addition to the vow of silence, participants will journal about their experiences throughout the day, and they will be participate in a ‘Breaking The Silence’ group discussion at the end of the day.
If you have any ideas you’d like to discuss, feel free to drop by my office, give a call or email. I know we’ve had teachers participate in a variety of ways (i.e. silent lessons, incorporating the theme in curriculum), so feel free to think of how you could meaningfully connect this awareness campaign with your role. You can also stop by and fill out a “selfie for silence” saying what you will do to end the silence.
As always, I look forward to our continued collaboration in our work towards making Truman a ‘No Place For Hate’ campus for a sixth consecutive year!