By Zumen Javed ‘18 and Rachel Goryachkovskiy ‘18
“Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention the silence faced by LGBT people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence which is caused by 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.”-the pledge of silence from GLSEN.
Sometimes the best way to get someone to listen is to not say anything at all, because silence can be louder than words.
Consider the voices you won’t hear on April 21; every one of these individuals are united in the uniform resistance of oppression towards the LGBTQ(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community. Day of Silence is focused on remembering, supporting and standing up for members of the LGBTQ community that are systemically disregarded and devalued.
To many students, Day of Silence is pivotal in order to gain attention amongst younger people because the current generation has the most potential to fight for equity within society. As a result of how few representatives there are within governmental sectors, it is important to have individuals on the sidelines fighting for the same goal.
For example, Stephanie Chan ‘18 stated, “I think the day of silence is important because it’s a way to help raise awareness for the LGBTQ community. Many people are not very informed and jump into many misconceptions which can really hurt people. I hope more people are able to understand the LGBTQ community”
Many students also believe that the Day of Silence is furthermore highly significant because it allows them to show support for the LGBTQ community in such a direct way.
“I agree with it [the Day of Silence] because it brings attention to mean words and harassment aimed at LGBTQ people”, explained Emily Movsumova ‘19
Although individuals have powerful effects on days like April 21, there are still powerful gears turning the wheels of change on the other 364 days within a year.
One of the most prominent organizations that fight for the LGBTQ community, GLSEN, are also the pioneers of Day of Silence. Their organization was founded in the early 90s through a collaboration of dedicated teachers from Massachusetts, that fought against an education system that systematically excluded members of the LGBTQ community. They work around the clock to this day, with a much bigger following, to enforce opposition to prejudice.
Internationally, individuals participate to show their love and support in various ways.GLSEN plays a major role in joining forces among numerous countries, such as, Israel, Canada, China, Ireland, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
However the most important results occur within the United States and its collaborators.
For instance, in Midwood, like many other schools nationwide, students vow to not speak for a day, in order to bring attention to the lack of visibility of LGBTQ individuals in media, positions of powers, and society as a whole and to to commemorate the tragic losses of young individuals that didn’t receive or understand that people do care and want to help.
Likewise, Iqra Mirza ‘17 said, “Midwood is a very diverse school where all students are welcomed and are able to express themselves and their beliefs in ways in which may not be possible in other places.”
Yet, some students believe that the day of silence isn’t necessary to show support towards the LGBTQ community, explaining that there are more effective ways to bring about change.
Zaina Syed ‘18 stated, “Well, I think if people want to show support towards the LGBTQ community, they don’t need to stay silent for the whole day. I don’t believe that shows any support.” She continued, “I think to show support towards the LGBTQ community, people should spread some more love and peace and people should just be more accepting and open minded towards the people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.”
Nevertheless, the efforts shown by countless individuals pays off when young adults find effective ways to promote crucial concepts by demonstrating that, “Hope will never be silent”- Harvey Milk.