Speaking up and being heard is the most common way a social movement can be noticed. On April 17, however, this was not the case for members of the LGBT community and their allies. In fact, the opposite approach was taken. Members of Common Ground, allies and people all over the nation took a vow of silence for the day. This event is known as the Day of Silence. It is a silent protest against in-school violence and harassment towards the LGBT community.
“If we’re silent, we’re not exactly sending the message, but it’s a symbolic act, it becomes a huge impact when half the class isn’t talking,” said Common Ground President and Day of Silence participant sophomore Charles Ely.
All day participants in this protest wore pieces of cloth around their mouths or held cards with an explanation of what they were doing. They were deliberately quiet for the entire day to show solidarity for those who always have to be silent about who they truly are.
“I was talking, but I did my best to spread the word about what today was, especially when people would ask questions about what was going on,” said ally freshman Anna Goldbeck.
Day of Silence is an event that occurs every year on high school and college campuses across the United States. Those who participate are firm believers in the idea of ending the silence faced by the LGBT community as well as bringing awareness towards anti-LGBT bullying, name calling and harassment. These are ideas that members of Knox’s Common Ground and their allies uphold.
“It’s activism, something I’m passionate about. I’m a queer fan. I’ve been one my entire life and this means a lot to me,” said Common Ground member and Day of Silence organizer sophomore Michael Martinez.
The next event Common Ground is holding is going to be a drag show on Saturday, April 24 from 9-11 p.m. in the Gizmo.
Day of Silence:
-In 1996, the first Day of Silence took place at the University of Virginia. Over 150 students participated.
-Day of Silence is organized at junior highs, high schools, and colleges across the country every year.
-In 2008, at one of the largest Day of Silence rallies across the nation, over 8,000 schools participated, especially in remembrance of a 14-year-old in California who was shot because of his sexual orientation.
(To learn more about Day of Silence, visit www.dayofsilence.org)