April 16, 2010

>Day of Silence Student Voices: Jesse (New York, NY)

>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

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