|National Day of Silence for Safer Schools is April 17|
Get ready for the campus to be a little quieter. On Friday, April 17, students at the University of North Dakota will join students across the nation in a Day of Silence to protest the discrimination, harassment and abuse, in effect the silencing, faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and their allies in schools.
The Day of Silence, a project of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), will be held during school hours. The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with members of the GLSEN Red River Valley chapter and others wishing to participate in the Day of Silence, meeting at the Soaring Eagle statue behind the Chester Fritz Library on the UND campus. Participants will be silent throughout the day, wearing stickers and passing out "speaking 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?"
At 2 p.m. there will be a "Breaking the Silence" debriefing to be held in the Badlands Room at the Memorial Union.
"The Day of Silence," according to local organizer, David Whitcomb, "is especially relevant to the students in North Dakota schools, as our elected state representatives voted earlier this month not to require equal rights in North Dakota on the basis of sexual orientation or gender expression." Dr. Whitcomb hopes that the event will work towards empowering the voices and reducing the hatred directed toward students.
GLSEN's 2003 National Climate Survey found that more than four out of five LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and 29 percent 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.
The Day of Silence, a project of GLSEN, is a nationwide, student-led event during which hundreds of high schools and colleges protest the oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. For more information contact local organizer Sandy Grissom, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and a complete collection of organizing materials, visit www.dayofsilence.org.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on creating safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on our educator resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.