April 16, 2010

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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

>As the Day of Silence continues, we've heard lots of stories and experiences from students all across the country, about why they chose to participate and how their vows of silence turned out. We hope your Day of Silence events were successful, and that after you break the silence you continue to speak out and take action against anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and violence.

This Student Voices piece comes from Melissa, who is a home-schooled student from Southern California. Nice job, Melissa!

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Why am I participating in this year's Day of Silence? I'd like to say it’s simple, but it's really not. I heard of the Day of Silence last year, but I'm home schooled and had no idea how I could do anything that would make a difference. This year, however, I'm taking a class at the local community college, a Spanish course. I don't have class on the 16th, the day it's set to take place, so I chose the 15th because I'll have class. My teacher was very understanding and supportive when I discussed my participation about it with her.

Part of me was afraid to participate, mainly because of the possibility of it bringing unwanted attention to my own sexuality, which I'm not yet quite sure of myself. I made the decision that even if I have to come out as not being heterosexual, then that's what is meant to be. If I can make even one person more aware of what they say to people, then it's worth any tiny amount of interruption in my life.

I've never been one who's good at sports, or art, or music, and I was always bullied in school for being so academically driven, but not having talent in much of anything besides school made me realize what I want to do with my life. I want more than anything to make a difference.

When I first started coming to terms with my sexuality, I did a lot of online research and came upon The Trevor Project, which led me to GLSEN and the Day of Silence. I’m going to participate this year, and every coming year. Knowing that there is something I can do to make a difference and create change, even if only in the slightest, is something that keeps me grounded, even when everything else around me can feel like it’s crashing down.

I want to participate in the Day of Silence to help educate people to how much silence can be caused even by something as simple as a few words. To raise awareness for the people who have been pushed into silence and are unable to raise awareness themselves. To show the person who suffers in their silence that there are people out there who care and recognize their pain and that there is hope. To show the gay person who thinks transgender people are any different from the rest of us, are just as much a part of the community than the rest of us. To show my homophobic "friends" and any other homophobic people that you don’t have to necessarily be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, or any other sexual identity to be part of the LGBTQIA(…) community and stand up and support them.

I want to make a difference. This is where it starts. It's only the beginning for me.

April 16, 2010

>Greetings Twitterers!

Every Friday the site TopFollowFriday.com ranks tweet endorsements of your favorite Twitterers. Last year the Day of Silence ended a strong Number 3. Today the Day of Silence is hovering at Number 7 at 2:30 Eastern Time. See the screenshot:


Help DOS get up top along with Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga! Endorse Day of Silence by tweeting these tags - #followfriday @dayofsilence - plus a message:

EXAMPLE: #followfriday @dayofsilence Tweet this to endorse the Day of Silence for Follow Friday!

EXAMPLE: #ff @dayofsilence Tweet this to endorse the Day of Silence for Follow Friday!

Thanks for Tweeting!

PS - Don't forget to join @dayofsilencefor our Tweet Chat beginning at 3:30pm Eastern: http://tweetchat.com/room/dayofsilence

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

>
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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