Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You can support today's national Day of Silence

By Diane Silver

Today is the Day of Silence in our nation's high schools and colleges, and even if you're neither a teacher nor a student, you can still help.

The Day of Silence began in 1996 at one school, the University of Virginia, and today students throughout the nation will be quiet all day "to protest the discrimination, harassment and abuse—in effect, the silencing—faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their allies in schools."

Hundreds of thousands of students are expected to participate during school hours. Many will wear stickers and pass out cards that read:
Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?
The event is sponsored by GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network.

The organization reports:
GLSEN’s 2005 National School Climate Survey found that more than 64% of LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and 29% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. The Day of Silence is one way students and their allies are making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America’s schools.
What can you do if, like me, you're no longer a student nor involved in a school?

The first thing I'm going to do is to say thanks to all the students who are participating in this important effort. The second thing I'm going to do is to donate to GLSEN to help support their work. Even $10 makes a difference.

Pam at Pam's House Blend has more on the Day of Silence and the counter protests the religious right is mounting.

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