Browsing Day of Silence
This post is written by Thomas N, a GLSEN Student Ambassador It’s that time of year again, that’s right, the Day of Silence is just around the corner. What does this mean exactly? It means it’s time for you to bring some swag to your school; it’s time to get creative and pull out those shirt designs, accessories, glitter- you name it. The opportunities you can take with this event are endless. Being a male cheerleader, I used to face a lot of bullying and harassment throughout my community, in and outside of school. You know the old saying, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That’s a lie. Words can do so much damage to a person. I know from personal experience that the bullying I faced caused me to silence myself because I was scared of what could happen if I showed my true colors.
I see the Day of Silence as not just an event, but also a day of opportunities; a day to create a change in the community by standing side by side and taking a vow of silence.
The Day of Silence has got to be one of my favorite times of the year because of the endless opportunities that come with it. For me, I see it as a holiday and that’s why I try to get everyone at my school involved. A successful event in the past I’m doing again this year is a Day of Silence art expression contest, where students submit original pieces of art that symbolize the silencing effects bullying and harassment have on LGBT student on a daily basis. Another way to engage a large number of students is to ask participants to wear necklaces with Day of Silence signs attached or order Day of Silence wristbands so teachers know who is participating. It’s a fun, easy and clear way to remind students to stay silent! I truly love the Day of Silence and believe every school should host the event. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to register your participation at the DayofSilence.org and get some tips on how to get it organized at your school! Thomas, N. Renton, WA GLSEN Student Ambassador
As a new staff member I have had the pleasure of experiencing the grunt work that goes into making Day of Silence possible. Part of this work includes answering hundreds of participant inquiries as to why we use silence on this day of action. We have a standard answer to this question: “taking a vow of silence helps to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.” Standard answers are often not enough to satisfy participant curiosity. Part of the reason why our constituents take part in the Day of Silence is that this day is an empowering moment in what can sometimes feel like an oppressive society. To honor our participants experience I thought that sharing a more personal answer to the inquiry of why we commemorate this day with silence would be appropriate. On a personal level, I believe that silence is a gesture of respect. My silence is an expression of my admiration for every LGBT person who has ever engaged in organizing which has led to the rights I have today. If we think broadly, moments of silence commemorate important events, history and influential individuals. This year’s Day of Silence, we will be joined by youth, allies, school administrators, staff, chapter leaders, donors and supporters who recognize that observing a vow of silence in honor of LGBT events, history and individuals is essential in making strides toward creating safe schools for students and moreover a safe society for all.
Students from across the country and the world will be joining forces on April 20, 2012 for the 26th annual Day of Silence. What started as an activity by a few dedicated college students in 1996, this day has become the largest student-led day of action in the nation! Here at the GLSEN national office we are constantly encouraged by the dialogue of countless students on Facebook and Twitter. We know though, each year it’s not enough to simply tweet the silence. We need to show our solidarity in person, in our communities, with other student organizers on the Day of Silence. Together as one, we can make change happen & create safe schools for all students. Therefore, if you haven’t done so already, please take 2 minutes right now to register on our Day of Silence site!
The Day of Silence is almost here! Let’s make this one the biggest one yet!
The Day of Silence (DOS) is the largest student lead day of action in the nation; it’s so large that its reach has also gone international to countries such as Russia and Singapore. Because of such attention and traffic during this important day we have worked hard and are proud to announce the launch of our freshly updated Day of Silence website! Now DOS participants should find our user-friendly site more accessible. Through feedback from the community, we’ve heard that many organizers may not have a lot of time to read something as they are out there and creating change. We’ve heard your feedback and have created one-pagers for an at-a-glance look at ways to plan and execute your own Day of Silence & Breaking the Silence events. Of course, we also still have the entire organizing manual and resources too!
Take some time now and check it out. Happy Organizing!
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.
Last Friday, many of you participated in the National Day of Silence. Thanks to all of your amazing work we are able to say that this was the largest Day of Silence in history! Your silence brought awareness to the silencing effects of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. Congrats!
But don't stop there. Day of Silence is just the beginning! Read below for some things you can do to keep the movement going. And make sure to read to the end where we announce the date for the Day of Silence in 2012.
Register and Be Counted!
It's not too late to register your participation in the Day of Silence! We want to get an accurate understanding or how many people took part. CLICK HERE to let us know that you took a stand against anti-LGBT bullying and harassment!
Tell us your story
We love to hear how you celebrated the Day of Silence. How many people participated? Were your teachers supportive? What did you do to Break the Silence? Let us know! Click here to fill out the feedback form on studentorganizing.org.
Silence in the Classroom
We are sorry to hear that several students faced negative consequences because of their participation in the Day of Silence at school. As a reminder, while students have the right to not speak between classes and before/after school, students DO NOT have the right to remain silent during instructional time. Although it is upsetting if you were punished because you remained silent during class, it is not against the law. Some teachers grant permission for students to uphold their vow of silence in class, but teachers are not required to do so. We always recommend discussing your participation with your teacher before the Day of Silence. Click here to see more about your legal rights during the Day of Silence.
If you still feel your rights were denied during the Day of Silence, please visit our Report It form to let us know. A representative from Lambda Legal may be in contact to assist.
We'll email you with announcements about upcoming Days of Action, and ways that you can keep your organizing going all year long! Join the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page for announcements all year long and be sure to read the emails from email@example.com and posts from @DayofSilence on Twitter!
Drum roll, please!
And the date for the next Day of Silence will be...Friday, April 20, 2012! Mark your calendars now and start brainstorming for ideas for next year's event! You can RSVP now at the official Day of Silence 2012 Facebook Event. And don't forget Ally Week (Oct 17-21) to jump start your organizing for the school year!
Thank you again for your participation in the Day of Silence. Don't let your work stop now. Through your continued organizing, we hope you are leading conversations and building action to change the climate of your schools to be a place where all students - regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression - can learn in a safe and supportive environment.
Congratulations on your success!
Congratulations to all of you on a hugely successful Day of Silence! Hundreds of thousands of people across the country and around the world participated in the Day to bring awareness to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.
By now you've likely Broken the Silence, and begun to speak about your participation in the Day, your experiences with anti-LGBT bullying and the importance of making all schools safer for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Keep the conversation going! The Day of Silence is the first step towards a deeper dialogue amongst members of your community about how to improve your school's climate for LGBT and all students.
While we know that this year's Day of Silence was the largest ever, we want to be able to show it! Please make sure you registered your participation by clicking on THIS LINK. By registering we can help show others the impact of this action.
We'd love to hear your stories about your participation--the ups , the downs, and everything in between. What did you do to end the silence? Tell us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you feel you were denied your right to participate in the Day of Silence or if you faced strong opposition from your school, please CLICK HERE to let us know. A representative from Lambda Legal may be in contact with you to assist.
Stay tuned to the Day of Silence Blog, the Day of Silence Facebook Page and the @DayofSilence on Twitter for ideas on how to take the next step to make your school a more respectful and supportive place for all students.
Thank you all for your hard work, and congratulations on taking a stand!
Hey everyone! We're all staff members at GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and we're supporting the Day of Silence today! Meet the Day of Silence crew!
We receive a lot of emails and comments at email@example.com, but some of the most upsetting are the ones outlining the ways that schools are restricting the rights of youth participating in the Day of Silence. Here are a few comments we've received this morning. It's strong reminder of why the Day of Silence is so important.
By 10 am this morning more than 30 students had already benn called to the office for participating in the Day of Silence. They were told to participate they had to go home with an unexcused absence, but they were an educational distraction to be silent all day.-----
School personnel are telling me that I cannot support it by putting a printed piece of paper on my shirt telling why i am not talking. And an attendance clerk said to me "I am not playing these stupid little games."-----
Administrator sent an e-mail saying to bring all the students participating in the day of silence to the office.-----
We can not discuss in class nor give materials to students. Students who choose to participate must report to a counselor. We have been denied having a GSA even after several groups of students have asked for one. We have a transgender student who needs our support. I'm being asked to take down the poster in the library and not hand out bracelets to my group.
If you're experiencing resistance or opposition from your school, please visit the Report It form and let us know. A representative from Lambda Legal may be in contact to assist.
>Every Friday the website TopFollowFriday.com ranks tweet endorsements of your favorite Twitterers. Last year the Day of Silence got FIRST PLACE! Even above Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga! See the screenshot:
Help us again this year! Just send a tweet using these tags - #followfriday @dayofsilence - plus a message, like this:
EXAMPLE: #followfriday @dayofsilence Tweet this to endorse the Day of Silence for Follow Friday! PLZ RT!
Thanks for tweeting, and have a great Day of Silence!