Browsing Day of Silence

May 02, 2013

"Why silence? Aren’t we trying to fight against silence?” Saad, a 2010-2011 GLSEN Student Ambassador, shares how silence on the Day of Silence is used as a powerful tool for direct action and social change:

Are you participating? Make sure you’re registered so that we can support you and your school. Register today and join the movement!

May 03, 2013

The Day of Silence is approaching! On April 19, students around the world will take a vow of silence to draw attention to the bullying and harassment that too many LGBT students face each day. Student ambassador César Rodriguez created a video about why you should register. Check it out!

Early registrants will get free Day of Silence gear. Plus, everyone who registers will be sent tips and resources to help your Day of Silence activities be the best they can be! Click here to register!

May 03, 2013

Drumroll please... April 19, 2013 is the next Day of Silence, save the date! Click the image below to share it on your Facebook! or click here to send a tweet about it! Also, buy your merchandise early and save! T-shirts are on sale for 10% off at the GLSEN store now through February 15, 2013.

May 03, 2013

Last Friday, President Obama brought the 17th annual Day of Silence to a memorable close, announcing his endorsement of two bills critical to the lives and future prospects of students everywhere: the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA). The announcement was an amazing high-water mark for a record-setting day. It also signaled how far the Day of Silence has come, with students' voices and students' demands reverberating right up to the highest office in the land. In addition to President Obama’s important endorsement, this year’s Day of Silence also reached new levels of influence. Hundreds of thousands of K-12 students from over 9,000 unique schools participated in the Day of Silence, which is the highest recorded number of participants yet! Aside from record breaking participation, the Day of Silence was covered by media outlets such as ABCMTV NewsThe Huffington Post, and many others. In addition, numerous organizations and influential individuals tweeted their support for the Day of Silence, and GLSEN greatly appreciates their encouraging words. Though the Day of Silence was a big day in terms of media, numbers, and legislation, nothing resonates louder than the words of the student participants. GLSEN Staff spent the day online in contact with and providing support to students who chose to take the vow of silence for all or part of the day. Their feedback is priceless.

One student tweeted, “My mom told me she was proud of me for standing up for what I believe in. #BestDayofSilenceEver.”  Another student posted on our Facebook page, “Today, so many of the people that I was worried about hating me because I thought they would think less of me stood with me on the Day of Silence. I don't think that I've ever felt this accepted or supported in my life. It just goes to show that there is hope for everyone out there. Whenever times may seem tough, or you are being harassed, just stop and look around. Remember that you are not the only one in the world, and that the people around you are always there for you. Happy Day of Silence, and may the future bring you many good times, freedom, and happiness.” For 16 years now, student leaders have made silence one of the loudest calls to action. We are so proud to support their efforts in achieving safe and affirming schools for all. Their actions were loud enough to inspire the President to offer his support for two bills vital to the progression of the safe schools movement. Thank you to all of the brave students that used their silence to bring awareness to the harmful effects of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment, thanks to the communities and families that heard their message and thank you for helping us make important actions like the Day of Silence possible. P.S. GLSEN’s ability to provide critical programs is dependent on the ongoing help of supporters like you. I’d like to invite you to become a member of GLSEN’s Dean’s List today. Members are monthly donors who provide reliable support for our core programs to combat anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and more. Join today with a tax-deductible gift of $10, $20 or more. Thank you.

May 03, 2013

This guest post by Emma Petersky looks at the Day of Silence and offers a challenge to organizers and participants alike.

Last week was the Day of Silence. A few words to those who participated: This day is supposed to be difficult. You should struggle. You should be frustrated. This day is about being audacious, defiant and most of all, empathetic. You are an important proponent of change and you matter. Anyone can participate in the Day of Silence, but the only person you can change is yourself. You have the power to be not just a better person, but an amazing human being.

Anyone can participate in the Day of Silence, but the only person you can change is yourself.

I have been organizing the Day of Silence since I was in the 7th grade. I started with a bundle of crumpled flyers underneath my arm, awkwardly written, that were painfully tossed into garbage cans when given out. Over the years, I have accumulated more wisdom and experienced more much more heartbreak in concurrence with this event. One cannot convince a student to stop being homophobic or transphobic overnight. We have been influenced by systems and institutions of oppression that teach us, from a young age, to celebrate that which is heteronormative and gender binary. As an activist, I cannot just scream the same, ineffective message to my peers that they have heard their entire lives; “Don’t be a bully”.

Instead, we must deconstruct our social norms of hate, ignorance and hostility towards queer youth. We must no longer demean, patronize or belittle the complexity of gender or sexual identity. This is not an easy task; it cannot be pre-packaged and sold. It cannot be taught in a classroom or preached from an intercom.

We as individuals must become both the educators and pupils, the sages and warriors, “to be the change that we want to see in the world”.

My generation is fueled by communication; however, pixels on a screen are not enough to make us change. We are influenced the most by our friends and by those we look up to, which often makes organizing the Day of Silence very difficult for those in schools with stringent cliques of oppressive motivation. To be a successful activist, you must boldly approach those who are different from you and reach out to students of all social groups. Diversity is the key to revolution. Not all of us can be brave. But we can hope. Hope cannot be bullied. Hope is a suit of armor that is embedded in our skin. It cannot be washed away by hate. Sometimes, we forget this as young people. So, as Harvey Milk said, “You gotta give them hope”. Our goal should not be to create safe space. It should be to create liberating space. And we shouldn’t have to settle for life to get better after High School. Emma Petersky is a student, activist, and educator living on the Eastside of Seattle, Washington. She is dual-enrolled as a Junior at Interlake Senior High School and as a Freshman Bellevue College. In her High School, she is the co-president of her school's Queer Straight Alliance. Outside of school, she is a facilitator of a queer youth discussion and support group called B-GLAD (Bi, Gay, Lesbian, Adolescent Drop-In). She is also a professional public speaker and peer educator to reteach gender and sexuality through the organizations OUTSpoken Speakers Bureau and Youth Eastside Services. She considers her most important work to be her position on the Board of Directors of the non-profit ThreeWings. In the future, she would like to either a social worker, a K-12 teacher, or a writer.

May 03, 2013

Today marks the 17th annual Day of Silence. We decided to take a look back at this event with such a rich history of student organizing, advocacy, and activism. Take a look at this video retrospective of Day of Silence then and now. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"46","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"254","width":"500","style":""}}]] Have you participated in Day of Silence in years past? Share some of your memories in the comments below!

May 03, 2013

Goooood morning! The Day of Silence is finally here and we're up bright and early with you to make this year a success! This year, students in every state, the District of Columbia, and nearly 60 countries are participating in events at their school for the Day of Silence! Join us in the action! We invite you to follow our blog – blog.glsen.org – as we post student stories and messages from supporters throughout the day. Don't forget to join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #DayOfSilence and following @glsen! If you encounter any resistance to your participation in Day of Silence, go to http://dayofsilence.org/legalhelp/ to report it. If you're unsure about whether or not you'll participate in Day of Silence today, we invite you to participate in whatever way feels right for you: not talking at all, remaining silent for a portion of a day, or using your voice to raise awareness of the bullying & harassment LGBT students face. If you haven't already, please take a moment to register your participation so we can count you in our numbers! Let's make this year the biggest year yet! Together, we’ll keep working until that’s a reality!

May 03, 2013

The Day of Silence is tomorrow, April 20th, be prepared!

Being a student and an organizer can be a lot! Frequently we hear from organizers who have been planning for the Day of Silence for weeks only to find themselves unprepared on the morning of their event. So, take the time this afternoon/evening to double check your to-do list with your advisor and/or fellow organizers. Make sure you haven’t put anything off until the last minute because once you get to school you will want to be able to hit the ground running in order to make the biggest impact. Here are some things to remember as you finalize your arrangements for your Day of Silence event:

  1. LIST: Make a to-do list of final tasks and think of people who could take on some of those tasks for you. Get started with the items on this list!
  2. REGISTER: If you haven’t already, be sure to CLICK HERE to register your participation in the Day of Silence and be counted among the hundreds of thousands of other students nationwide participating in the Day of Silence.
  3. CONNECT: The night before your event call, email or text all of the people helping you organize to make sure everyone is on the same page. Also make sure to stay connected on social media, like facebook and Twitter!
  4. PRINT: Be sure you have all the materials you need, and extras to hand out, such as:Speaking CardsLambda Legal: Freedom to Speak (Or Not) 2012, ACLU: Letter to Principal or EducatorStickers, and cut, fold, or label these materials as needed.
  5. GATHER: Get all Day of Silence items and materials in one place to ensure that they are clean and organized (shirts, buttons, stickers, pamphlets, speaking cards, posters, etc.)
  6. CHARGE: You want to take pictures, right? Text? Tweet? Make sure your camera, phone and computer batteries are all charged up and ready to go in the morning!
  7. DOUBLE CHECK your to-do list: It never hurts to be extra careful!
  8. REST: You’re gonna need it for your exciting day of taking action!

Ready, set, go!

May 03, 2013

Check out a featured poem from the “What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?” call for submissions. This poem was submitted by Ilana K. of Rockville, MD.

 "Silence."

I have never stopped talking Not even for one second Even when I am silent I am speaking so many words So one day a year my silence speaks more Than I ever could out loud   My silence speaks for those who do stop talking Those who are forced to stop talking By a world that can’t accept them for who they are Or who they love Some people who have so much to say Can’t find the voice to say it Not because they don’t want to But because other people won’t let them   Why is it that in this time With a black president Two women can’t get married in 42 states Transgender individuals can get fired People are discriminated against For things they can’t change They can’t make the change if they can’t find their voice And they can’t find their voice if people won’t let them   Even if they find their voice There is no change that will happen Unless people are willing to listen So because I can’t stop talking I put away my voice for a day To bring attention to all the people Who are forced into the silence Not necessarily because they don’t have anything to say But because people won’t listen People won’t listen   Thanks for your submission, Ilana! Have last minute planning to do for the Day of Silence? Visit our resources here, and have an awesome day tomorrow!   Please note, the views expressed in the submission are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by GLSEN.

May 03, 2013

Check out one of the featured videos from the "What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?" call for submissions. This video was submitted by Alexander P. of San Diego, CA. Here is what Alexander had to say about his video:

Why I myself am not a member of the LGBT community, I am friends with a lot of people who are. Many of these people are my closest friends and are dear to me. It would hurt me to see them be insulted in ways I've never really been attacked and pressured into the silence the Day of Silence tries to make others aware of. As a student filmmaker, I decided to pick up my camera and share the words of my fellow GSA club members to help bring awareness to the issues of harassment to LGBT youth. Always being a bit "different", I've tended to make the short films and music I create to be a little off and a bit odd. I've always thought weirdness is a virtue. Some people see me as being weird for trying to be nicer to people. But being under the label of LGBT doesn't really make you different, in my opinion it's how you treat people and the world around you that does.

 

"The Day of Silence- 2012 (A Message from CCA GSA)"

Thanks, Alexander and the CCA GSA! What an awesome video!

Check back again tomorrow to see another submission! And don't forget to register your Day of Silence event!

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