>Oprah is No. 1, Ashton Kutcher is No. 2 and Day of Silence is No. 3!! And it's only midday.
>Really, I love Twitter. It's fast and informative and fun and I can follow all the issues important to me. These issues, of course, include bullying and harassment in schools, particularly that of LGBT students and allies. But today it's been hard to follow everything!
Today, as you know, is the National Day of Silence, and Twitter has exploded with DOS-related posts. (Click here to follow.) People all across the country and the world are tweeting about anti-LGBT bullying and harassment and are taking a stand by supporting the Day of Silence. Today is also Follow Friday, and Twitterers, Tweeters and Twits alike are endorsing DayofSilence in their posts! Right now DOS is the #3 most endorsed in all of the Twittervese, according to TopFollowFriday.com. Won't you help us climb to to the top? Go to your Twitter account and post #followfriday @dayofsilence and help get us to #1.
And make sure to join our TweetChat today at 3:30 PM Eastern.
It's already an amazing Day of Silence! Keep us in the loop and tell us what you're doing to end LGBT bullying in your school, and keep Tweeting the Silence!
>More details about what led an 11-year-old boy to take his own life in this ESSENCE.com article. Carl Walker-Hoover would have turned 12 tomorrow on the Day of Silence. He didn't identify as gay, and yet he was constantly harassed with anti-LGBT language. It's a tragic reminder of why ALL bullying must stop and why we have to train educators to identify and address anti-LGBT bullying.
Wear any color
Tweet the Silence
Silence your tweets
Blog the silence
Silence your blog
Whatever you do, be respectful, especially of others who are observing the Day of Silence, but bring attention to the issues of anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harrasment in schools.
Juggling between homework assignments, extracurricular activities, and organizing a Day of Silence can be a lot! There are so many students who tell me how they spent weeks preparing for the Day of Silence only to be unprepared the morning of their event. From Day of Silence t-shirts being dirty or wrinkled, to speaking cards getting lost, there are a number of ways that your last minute prepping can go awry.
So, double check your to-do list tonight and make sure you'll be set to run a smooth event tomorrow. Here are a few tips to help you in your last minute preparations:
1. Make a to-do list of last minute tasks
2. The night before your event call all of the people helping you organize to make sure everyone is on the same page
3. Find, wash, iron and otherwise make pretty all of your DOS paraphernalia
4. Print out all of the materials you will need
5. Make sure your camera battery is charged
6. Double check your to-do list
Ready, set, go!
>Every year after the Day of Silence we tally up the numbers of participants and supporters to share with our donors and to highlight the importance of the work that GLSEN does. Don't you want to be counted?
Students (middle, high school and college) register here.
Adults - Support our students by signing the pledge.
Help us prove that people care about ending anti-LGBT bullying.
>This is a guest post from GLSEN Holiday:
In some communities there are people who oppose the Day of Silence (DOS) for various reasons. If you're looking for ways to address critics here is a bit of information.
What do you have to say about potential opponents to the Day of Silence?
The issue at hand is the bullying, harassment, name-calling and violence that students see and face in our schools. The Day of Silence is an activity created and led by students to educate their peers and bring an end to this harassment.
More info can be found on the Day of Silence FAQ page.
Those who do not support the Day of Silence often protest, but rarely contribute positively to finding ways to end anti-LGBT harassment. Some individuals and groups organize events in response to the Day of Silence. These folks sometimes misunderstand and frequently mischaracterize the basic purpose of the Day of Silence. Bringing attention to opponents only adds false credibility to their misinformation about the Day of Silence, GLSEN and the thousands of American students taking action on April 17th.
If you face hostile students or organizations in your school on the Day of Silence remember to remain calm. GLSEN encourages you to not get into a debate, make gestures and certainly not to get into a physical altercation. If you continue to be harassed, we advise you to contact your GSA advisor or other ally school staff person.
GLSEN looks forward to engaging all organizations and individuals who share the Day of Silence vision of schools free from anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment.
>As the Day of Silence approaches we’ve been getting lots of questions and comments along two similar but distinct threads on our various websites and in our email.
1) Do I need to be silent all day? Can I communicate at all? Can I blog/tweet/facebook?
2) Being silent doesn’t help and only perpetuates the problem. We should be speaking out.
The answer to both of these is similar: being silent has been and continues to be a very powerful way to create positive dialogue around the problem of anti-LGBT bullying for many students across the country. However, each person who participates in the Day of Silence has a different way of participating.
For some, the best way to participate is by being completely silent, including not participating in online communication. For others, the best way to participate is by spending the day speaking out about the issues of LGBT bullying. Some who participate get limited approval from their schools for their participation and so can only be silent during breaks between classes. There are many ways of participation ranging from complete silence to no silence.
The point is that the DOS is a day to bring attention to the problem of anti-LGBT bullying and each person who participates must determine how they can best use, or not use, their voice to do that. If you feel you will have the deepest positive impact by remaining completely silent and have the appropriate approvals to do so then go for it. If you feel that in your situation, you can have a deeper positive impact by speaking out then that should be your way of observing. No one can make that determination but you.
Your voice, whether silent or loud, WILL make a difference this Friday and the Day of Silence will speak volumes.
There were a number of activities involved, but one of the most exciting and fascinating of them was the "rush hour rally". I'm not sure if this is what they officially call it, but that is in effect what it was.
A group of about 50 students, chapter leaders, parents, and GSA advisers gathered at a public fountain near a busy intersection. They were decked out in Day of Silence t-shirts and rainbow paraphernalia. They had noisemakers and posters that said "Honk if you support safe schools!", "Support the Day of Silence!", "Equality is a right!" and other catchy slogans. They lined the sidewalk and encouraged rush hour motorists to honk in support of the Day of Silence.
The air was filled with excitement and camaraderie and every time someone unbeknown to the Day of Silence would honk there would be an overwhelming uproar. They did an amazing job of raising awareness about the DOS to the Kansas city community. It was phenomenal.
Here are a few ideas to incorporate for your Breaking the Silence event:
1. Have a silent countdown
2. Have all event attendees write their comments on a huge banner
3. Have some of the DOS participants speak out about their experiences of being silent all day, and about their experiences of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment
4. Invite local performers, singers, musicians, poets, theater troupes, etc.
5. Have food! Have music! Have fun!
Looking back on my first Day of Silence, I realize that it was rough. I can remember the negativity that originated from the student body at my high school. I remember the name calling, the threats, and the hate. I remember it being called a "Gay Day", and a lot of the community getting outraged that the school would allow such a thing.
Most of all though, I remember the support that came from those who cared. The students and teachers who stood by me throughout the day knew that we were standing up for rights that EVERYONE deserved.
Now, a year later, it's amazing to see how far we've come. It leaves me in awe to think about how much our support base has grown. Now I have a established Gay Straight Alliance with a student base of about thirty members... not bad for a school with less than one thousand in total. It gives me great pride to see how far my community has come, all because of a group of people who stood up for what they believed in.