Today is the Day of Silence. Sponsored by GLSEN, Day of Silence began:
In 1996, students at the University of Virginia organized the first Day of Silence in response to a class assignment on non-violent protests with over 150 students participating in this inaugural event. In 1997, organizers took their effort nationally and nearly 100 colleges and universities participated. In 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event.
Day of Silence is a student-led, school based event. Why?
GLSENs 2009 National School Climate Survey found that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and more than 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. Moreover, two of the top three reasons students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 report by GLSEN and Harris Interactive. Thus, the Day of Silence helps bring us closer to making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America’s schools.
While the news is filled with national stories of marriage equality and communities fighting back against prejudicial anti-gay "religious freedom" laws, the environment inside of schools can be unsupportive and even repressive. That's why I was so excited to report on the new partnership between HCPSS and PFLAG. School should be a safe, supportive environment for all children.
I don't know how many students are participating in Howard County. They may be wearing t-shirts, or armbands, stickers, or they may hand you a simple card to explain their participation. Do me a favor. Don't roll your eyes, joke about teenagers and their fads, or say you're so tired of hearing about gay rights that silence would be welcome. And, for heaven's sake, don't do this.
Think about how beautiful the world would be if the voices of all of our children were welcome, and honored. What will you do to end the silence?