National Day of Silence

By Kristen Jacobs
Staff Writer

Can you keep a secret? Can you voluntarily take a vow of silence for an entire day? What if it was to show support for your family member or friend who faces harassment because their sexual orientation and lifestyle clashes with societies norms?

The National Day of Silence is exactly what it sounds like. It is a day when students take a day-long vow of silence to symbolically represent the silencing of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) students and their supporters. It originally began at the University of Virginia in April 1996. The National Day of Silence is celebrated this year on Friday, April 17, 2009. For “allies” or those who support all members of the LGBT community, it is a day for us to publicly show our support and encouragement. So whether or not you can tighten your lips for the whole day, or a few hours between classes, there are other ways in which you can show support. On Friday, wear the color red! A red t-shirt, a red jacket or scarf; either way, it’s a visual sign of support. Last, the paragraph below is commonly printed on cards and passed around during this day. I hope you read it and fully absorb what this day stands for. If you’d like to have your own cards to pass around to members of the community to spread awareness, you can print them at the following website: www.dayofsilence.org/downloads/dos_speaking_card_09.pdf.

Last, I’d like to leave you with an inspirational quote by Martin Luther King Jr. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by the anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling, and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today.”