Many students around the halls may soon choose to be silent to support eliminating LGBT harassment. Known around the globe as the Day of Silence, April 17th is the day where people from small towns to large cities around the world will be rallying in quiet protest for the cause.
The Day of Silence began in 1996 when a group of college students from the University of Virginia organized it for an assignment. In the following year, the response was far greater and reached about one hundred colleges nationally.
Every year, more and more people learn about this annual “day of action” that wishes to put an end to bullying and harassment. High schools such as United Township, Moline, Bettendorf and others have all supported students with their silence.
The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) have been running the Day of Silence for years; their research claims that “nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual, or physical harassment at school.” Therefore, the number one goal of the Day of Silence is to bring attention to this issue and make it completely unacceptable for it to continue.
Spending an entire day not talking may not seem like it makes a difference, but it definitely does help to raise awareness of the issue.
BHC student Darby Hepner remarked, “One year in high school some friends and I actually participated in the movement. Because our school was so small, people definitely took notice!”
Just the fact that our corner of the country has recognized the Day of Silence means that there is an issue that our generation wishes to fix.
Hepner also reasoned, “I don’t know how much of a difference we made, but what we did do is make people aware of the problem.”
Which is exactly what GLSEN thinks is the best way for the harassment to stop – the first step is to have people admit that there is a problem. The next step would be to change it.
The website http://www.dayofsilence.org/ has very useful information if you are someone who wants to organize or register a group to be recognized as participating for the cause. The site clearly explains “your rights” involving when you are and are not authorized to speak throughout the day; it’s best to let the people whom you will interact with that day know that you are going to be silent, and tell them why.
To properly end LGBT bullying and harassment, the Day of Silence is being embraced by students all across the world. Statistics don’t lie; it’s time for harsh judgments and cruel remarks to cease indefinitely.