Browsing Day of Silence

January 04, 2015

"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!

January 04, 2015

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On the Day of Silence starting at 3 PM EST we'll be hosting a Tweet Chat LIVE! Come and share your experiences with Day of Silence organizers from across the country. Also, a crew of GLSEN staff members will be available to answer your questions.

Participation is easy!

  • Click here to join the #DayofSilence Tweet Chat room.
  • Make sure to click "Sign in with Twitter" in the upper right corner.
  • Enter your Twitter login info.
  • Join the conversation!

We're excited to hear all of your Day of Silence stories!

January 04, 2015

My name is Carly, I'm a student ambassador for GLSEN, and an 8th grader in Arizona.

Since my mom is an ally, I've been an ally for basically as long as I can remember. In fact, I don't think I could imagine that not being a part of my life. And for as long as I've been an ally, the question I've been asked the most has always been “Why?” “Why do you care so much about gay people if you're straight yourself?”

Well, there are several answers to that question. First of all, I believe a lack of acceptance and an attitude of intolerance is one of the biggest issues our society faces, and one that has been the root cause of some of the most tragic events in history. In this case, anti-LGBT bullying, homophobia, and heterosexism in schools have caused tragedies. It has caused the tragedy of talented, bright kids not achieving the success they could be in school or even dropping out because they are too afraid of being harassed to focus on academic success. It has caused hundreds of teens to suffer from anxiety or depression every year. In short, anti-LGBT bullying is a common and extremely serious problem. And I don't want to just sit by and watch it wreck a ton of amazing young people's lives. That's probably the biggest part of why I'm an ally—I think it's just the right thing to do.

Besides that, I strongly believe that anti-LGBT bullying does not only negatively impact the LGBT community, but also an environment in which no once can feel comfortable being who they are and expressing themselves, for fear of being judged, labeled, bullied, or harassed. These kind of hostile surroundings, where everyone is more worried about not becoming a victim then they are about doing well in school or life, is not conducive to a healthy learning environment or a healthy person. As an ally, it is my hope that one day, everyone will be able to go to school and just be themselves and focus on being the best they can be. I want to wake up in a world where people are free from gender stereotypes that stifle their ability to lead the life they want to.

Ultimately, I believe the quote that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” is true, and I don't want to take the side of bullying. Allies are in a position to “be the change,” as GLSEN says. They have the opportunity to break down the walls between LGBT students and their straight peers that often lead to a feeling of isolation for the LGBT students. To be a voice for people who are in the closet and can't speak up for themselves, be a supporter for people who are coming out or need somebody to talk to, and fight along side all the wonderful LGBT youth who have worked to achieve safer and more inclusive schools.

Being an ally is something I would encourage everyone to do, because although you may face some challenges, I have had so many great experiences and met so many amazing people because of being an ally. And at the end of the day, I feel really proud to be a part of a movement that involves people of all different sexual orientations and gender identities, joined together for a great cause.

January 04, 2015

We've been getting lots of questions about using social media on the Day of Silence. Ultimately, it's up to your if you want to engage in social media or not on the Day of Silence! However, we think that using social media is a great way to stay connected and stand in solidarity with other Day of Silence organizers around the country. Social media is also a tool you can use to ask GLSEN for support if you are having trouble with your Day of Silence plans. If you do want to use social media, here are some ways to stay connected!

Facebook

Change your cover photo and profile picture to show your participation in the event! Also "like" the Day of Silence on facebook, and feel free to post about your day with other participants!

fbprofile

Profile Picture

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Cover Photo

Twitter

Tweet the Silence

Send your tweets to #DayofSilence and follow us @DayofSilence

Instagram

Tag your photos #DayofSilence

  We are looking forward to hearing from you leading up to the Day of Silence and on the Day! Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. Don't forget to order your Day of Silence gear by 4/13/12!  And register your Day of Silence event here. Happy organizing, Juliann DiNicola GLSEN Community Initiatives  

January 04, 2015

We got so many amazing submissions to the "What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?" contest. Thank you all who submitted an entry to us! Your bravery, resilience, and determination is inspiring. Thank you all for making the Day of Silence such a tremendous event. Your voices are being heard. We are proud to announce the videos and written submissions that will be featured on the GLSEN Blog! Check back daily until the Day of Silence (4/20) to see the submissions!  

Featured Videos

-Alexander P. from San Diego, CA

-Amanda L. from Syosset, NY

-Arial P. from Hendersonville, TN

Featured Essays

-Rachel S. from Tucson, AZ

-Ilana K. from Rockville, MD

-Kristin J. from Silverdale, WA

Honorable Mentions (Video)

-Jackson G. from Gulfport, MS

-Alexander H. from Christmas, FL

Honorable Mentions (Written)

-Katie B. from Lebanon, IL

-Zachary C. from Pendleton, SC

-Teresa D. from Elmwood Park, IL

-Neal R. from Dauphin, PA

  Congratulations to the featured submissions! We are so thankful that you took the time to share you stories with us. Remember to visit the GLSEN Blog daily to watch and read the entries! Also, today is the last day of order your Day of Silence merchandise.  Make sure you order your materials in time!  

January 04, 2015

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!

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!

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