Today marks the 12th annual Day of Silence, an event where students from middle school to college are asked “to take some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to the name-calling, bullying and harassment—in effect, the silencing—experienced by LGBT students and their allies.” This year’s event is in memory of Lawrence King, the California eighth-grader shot to death by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression.
The Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network coordinates the event, and they report that students from a record 6,800 middle and high schools registered as of yesterday. Last year, a day before the event, they had slightly more than 4,000. King’s death was a tragedy, but if it has helped raise awareness so fewer people suffer his fate in the future, then at least some good will come of it.
HRC also informs us that:
Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Lois Capps (D-CA), along with 28 co-sponsors, introduced H. Con. Res. 328 (.pdf), a resolution in support of the 2008 National Day of Silence. And yesterday, April 23, Representatives Baldwin and Sam Farr (D-CA) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about the importance of the National Day of Silence and the need to confront anti-GLBT harassment in schools.
Support at that level is important, but not more so than students and others willing to raise awareness within their local communities. Sara Whitman at Suburban Lesbian writes about her son’s choice to participate (and her followup). Students in Breckenridge, Colorado and Los Angeles, among other places, are organizing local events. (Thanks, National Gay News.) I even know of non-student employees at one major corporation who are asking their colleagues to join them for 15 minutes of silence and/or a private observance of the event.
There are those, too, who are protesting the observance. Promotion of homosexuality and all that. You’ve heard it before, so I’m not going to dwell on it here. Google “day of silence” and you’ll find the news, if you want.
Are your children participating in the Day of Silence, or do you know others in your community who are?