April 16, 2010

>It's April 16 and the Day of Silence is upon us! If you have any important questions or run into any hurdles in your organizing efforts, be sure to contact us at info@dayofsilence.org so we can help out. If you have any great stories from your Day of Silence experiences, send them to submit2dos@gmail.com and they may end up on this blog! Today's Student Voices post comes from Jesse, a 15-year-old student from New York City. Thanks Jesse!

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Today is the Day of Silence, a day when we organize and keep silent for safer schools and more tolerant students. For me, it’s hard to believe that I’m here now. One year ago on the Day of Silence, I was sitting alone in my living room trying to keep silent while my classmates were out enjoying their break, and my sister was trying to make me talk.

It was the tweet chat that really inspired me. There were so many words of support and encouragement that it just changed my whole outlook. I vowed to myself right then and there that I would do all I could to make sure that kids were safe and looked after in their own schools. When I looked into GLSEN and saw the statistics, it astounded me, but it only increased my drive. This year I took to it and started my GSA, joined a group, organized a great Ally Week and No Name-Calling Week and got a newspaper article written about me in the school newspaper.

Day of Silence was the big one for me. It started out only being me and one other person. But as we organized and got going, more and more people joined us; it was so hopeful. A couple of weeks ago, I heard some anti-gay slander going on in one of my hallways, and it started to make my hopes go down and I was discouraged that people wouldn’t live up to their word because of peer pressure. But a couple of words of encouragement from the people at GLSEN brought me back and before I knew it I was on an organizing craze.

When I walked into school this morning, everyone was supportive. They knew who I was and for this one day, it seemed like they didn’t care. It was mind-boggling. This gives me immense hope that we can make this happen. We can stop anti-LGBT bullying and we can prevent suicides like the tragic one of Carl Walker-Hoover. Sometimes the loudest sound is no sound at all.

Happy Day of Silence,

Jesse

April 16, 2010

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Cross-posted at http://blog.glsen.org.

A message to Day of Silence participants from GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard:


Dear Friends:

The Day of Silence, perhaps more than any other day on the calendar, makes visible the efforts of amazing student leaders and remarkable community volunteers all over the country. I am so proud of the partnership that GLSEN has had with Day of Silence organizers everywhere for the past decade. Together, we have built this event into a powerful annual reminder of the urgent need for action on anti-LGBT behavior and bias in our schools.

I cannot thank you enough for your courage and leadership. As you go through your day, remember that you are not alone. Today your efforts are part of a nationwide effort involving hundreds of thousands of other students in all fifty states. The numbers we know so far indicate that we are on our way to the biggest nationwide observance of the Day of Silence yet!

Here at the GLSEN headquarters we will be tracking the numbers and any stories that come in as the day goes on. Right now, the number of individual students registered is up 60% from last year, and the number of individual schools represented is up 35%.

Please make sure to let us know what is happening in your community. If you haven’t registered, please click on the register button at www.dayofsilence.org, so that we can let the world know the full scope and power of the work that you all will do today.

Please send us your stories and reflections, and let us know if we can share them with the national community taking part in the Day of Silence today. Congratulations and thank you! May you have a safe and successful Day of Silence, and remember that our staff is here to support you.

Warmly,
Eliza Byard, PhD
Executive Director
GLSEN

April 16, 2010

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On the Day of Silence starting at 3:30PM EST we'll be hosting a Tweet Chat LIVE! Come and share your experiences with Day of Silence organizers from across the coun
try. 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!

April 15, 2010

>Today is the National Day of Silence! We at GLSEN are so excited and we hope you are too. Thank you for taking a stand to end anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. You're making a difference for your school, community and for the world!

Here are a few things you might need in one easy place:

Legal Help

Resources

Day of Silence Contact Info

Have an amazing Day of Silence!

April 15, 2010

>
Last year, just a few days before the Day of Silence, actor Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) challenged Twitter users to make him the first person to get one million followers. He was trying to beat out CNN (@cnn)– each had over 900,000 people following them. Around 1:00am on the Day of Silence Kutcher got to the million mark ahead of CNN. As luck would have it, that Friday was also the day Oprah (@oprah) had planned to do her first tweet.

Wow, tough competition! And to make it even harder, Oprah had Kutcher as a guest on her show and they tweeted together. Darn.

So what happened? Well, by the midday on DOS last April 17th the rankings were, Oprah #1, Kutcher #2 and Day of Silence #3.

See the screenshot:

By the end of the day, the official Follow Friday ranking was Kutcher #1, Oprah #2 and Day of Silence held strong at #3!

This year we want to be Number 1!
To do that we are asking all our Twitter followers to ENDORSE the Day of Silence on that day. Here’s how:

Endorse DOS for Follow Friday
In your tweets on Friday, April 16th use the hashtag #followfriday (or #ff) and then @dayofsilence plus your message, like this:

EXAMPLE: #followfriday @dayofsilence is today! Support LGBT students. Help end bullying in school.

EXAMPLE: #ff @dayofsilence Hundreds of thousands of students are taking a vow of silence today. Find out more http://www.dayofsilence.org

EXAMPLE: #followfriday @dayofsilence Support the Safe Schools Improvement Act!

Use this combination of tags (#followfriday @dayofsilence) for your first tweet of the day to register your endorsement. Remember, WAIT until Friday (any time after midnight Central Time) otherwise it won’t count in the statistics for Follow Friday.

April 15, 2010

>Tomorrow is going to be the biggest National Day of Silence ever, with hundreds of thousands of students participating across the US and around the world. Here are a few tips and resources as you prepare to take part in the 15th Day of Silence:

  • MAKE SURE TO REGISTER your participation in the Day of Silence so we can have an accurate number of how many people participated. Click here to register!
  • Tweet the Silence! Tweet about your experience during the Day of Silence to help spread the word. And don’t forget the #dayofsilence hash tag! More info here.
  • Know your rights during the Day of Silence with this helpful document from Lambda Legal: Click here to download. If you encounter resistance or feel your rights are being denied, please contact the Lambda Legal Help Desk at 212-809-8585 or 866-542-8336.
  • Check out these 8 Tips for Facing Opposition on the Day of Silence Blog. Be prepared to have a safe, effective and fun Day of Silence!
  • Don’t have anything planned? You can still participate with these Tips for the Last-Minute Organizer. Click here to download.
  • Print materials like speaking cards, stickers and other resources from the templates, look here.
  • Take Action! Contact your Congressperson now or as soon as you break your silence and ask them sign on as a cosponsor of the National Day of Silence Resolution. Or thank your representative if they are already a cosponsor. More info here.
If you have any questions or concerns on the Day of Silence, please contact us.
Email: info@dayofsilence.org
Twitter: @dayofsilence
Facebook: tinyurl.com/DoS-Facebook
Phone: 212-727-0135
April 15, 2010

>On Wednesday, we at GLSEN had a special visit from Isis King, superstar model from the 11th cycle of America's Next Top Model! Isis King is a trans woman and cares a lot about the issue of bullying. She stopped by to talk thank all the organizers working hard to support the Day of Silence. Watch her video below.

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April 15, 2010

>The Day of Silence is almost here! For today's Student Voices column, Arny, from Lodi, New Jersey, explains how he and fellow students view the Day of Silence as a way to address the particular hurdles that LGBT students of color face, and how students can participate in the Day of Silence to raise awareness about biased-based discrimination and violence of many different kinds. Thanks, Arny!

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The National Day of Silence is an event with the purpose of calling attention to bullying and harassment towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students (LGBTQ) and their allies. However, this silent protest has a wider scope.

What is the Day of Silence like for a gay student of color?

For many LGBTQ students of color, homosexuality remains a forbidden taboo. For others, it may be a great disappointment or dishonor to the family. Add to this constant teasing for being Asian, or Latino, or African American etc. in schools, and it’s an unbearable pain to withstand. The Day of Silence only helps highlight the additional silent suffering of LGBTQ students of color.

In my school the Day of Silence was mostly dominated by students of color. The majority of us rebelling from traditional values, ignorant peers, and a society that shuns us for who we are whether it be based on race or sexual orientation. I believe that the Day of Silence only becomes even more personally meaningful to students of color because we must endure bullying from another side of the spectrum. A student’s skin color, religion, class, disability, and sexual orientation and gender identity are all reasons for bullying and the Day of Silence helps shed light upon the mistreatment, bullying and harassment each student, who suffers this torment, endures in order to attend school.

April 14, 2010

>Tweet, not speak
On the Day of Silence tweet about DOS as much as you can.

Important: If you are a student in middle or high school, make sure you only tweet during times that your school permits. Tweet in the morning before school starts, at lunch (if allowed), and especially after school.

If you can’t tweet any other time, plan to tweet within one hour after classes end. We hope that will create a rolling, growing Twitter movement from the East to the West coast as schools close for the day. Students in Alaska and Hawaii, join in when you can. And if you live outside the U.S. you can be a part too.

Tweet topics
Tweet what you’re doing for DOS. Tweet how many students are participating at your school. Tweet the different ways you’re getting support. Tweet if you’re holding a Breaking the Silence event. Tweet about how many buttons you’re wearing. Tweet about the reactions of your classmates. Basically, if it has to do with DOS, tweet it on Friday.

Tagging your tweets
IMPORTANT: Always mention DOS (@dayofsilence) by using the “@” or “#” tags. And ask your friends to retweet (RT) you.

Tweet chat
We’ll have a team tweet-in on Friday afternoon in solidarity with all the hundreds of thousands of students participating in the Day of Silence. We’ll do our best to keep up with your questions.

Buttons
We have Tweet the Silence! web buttons for your web site. To get one, click here.

And don't miss FollowFriday! CLICK HERE to learn what Oprah, Ashton Kutcher and the Day of Silence have in common!

April 14, 2010

>As you’ve all seen, there are some groups and some individuals out there who are doing all they can to detract from the purpose of the Day of Silence. Some of these groups are encouraging parents to pull students out of school, organizing events to counter the Day of Silence, or protesting schools and community centers hosting Day of Silence activities. Some individuals have been visiting the Day of Silence pages on Facebook and elsewhere to share hateful comments.

Here are a couple of tips for you if you find yourself facing this type of opposition during your Day of Silence organizing:

  1. Stay cool: It’s difficult to be challenged, and some that oppose the Day of Silence may say hurtful things. Relax. Breathe. Remember that you’re participating in DOS to make a difference, not to start fights.
  2. Step away: The Day of Silence is about starting conversations, but often those strongly opposing DOS are not truly interested in genuine conversation. Some are only interested in provoking you. In these cases it’s best to walk away and not respond. Don’t let anyone detract from the purpose!
  3. Be respectful: The Day of Silence is about ending anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in school. To do this, it's important to treat people with respect. Treat people who oppose the DOS not as they treat you but with the same respect you hope to be treated with. Remember, the Day of Silence is a peaceful demonstration!
  4. Share The Four Truths: Often people make decisions about the Day of Silence without getting accurate information about the action. This document highlights four often misunderstood elements of the Day of Silence. Print it out and provide it to those who may be confused as to what DOS is for.
  5. Report it: If there are people who are bullying or harassing you as part of their opposition, you should report it—to school officials, online authorities, your parents—immediately. In school, make sure to notify a supportive staff member, and ask for their assistance as you follow up on the status of your report.
  6. Share your story: Stay connected with other organizers about your experience. Talk to your student club or tell your story on the Facebook Day of Silence Page and Twitter.
  7. Contact us: If you experience extreme amounts of opposition, face bullying and harassment, or feel your rights have been violated, please contact us at info@dayofsilence.org and let us know right away! We can put you in touch with the appropriate legal support.
  8. Spread the word: Share this post with other organizers so that we can all work together to focus our attention on the things that matter to make change.

We hope you have an effective, safe, and fun Day of Silence!

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