Are you busy planning for GLSEN’s Day of Silence on April 20th? Thousands of GSA activists from across the country are, too.
GLSEN’s Day of Silence is an event where, every year, GSAs take a vow of silence to recognize and protest the silence that LGBT people face each day. GSAs in California and throughout the United States have organized around GLSEN'S Day of Silence as a way to raise awareness and fight homophobia and transphobia in their schools. Quick history lesson: college students started the Day of Silence in 1996 at the University of Virginia. Over 150 students participated in the event, which inspired them to take the event nationwide. In 2008, over 8,000 middle schools, high schools and colleges participated.
To start planning your kick-ass Day of Silence on April 20, 2012, check out our Day of Silence Resource Guide and connect with other GSAs in your area through our Facebook pages (National, SoCal, NorCal, and Central Valley).
A few things for GSA activists to remember in planning for GLSEN’s Day of Silence:
- Before… Consider including other clubs in your school that may be interested in collaborating on the project, or have GLSEN'S Day of Silence be a multi-issue project reflecting the silencing that multiple groups and communities face.
- Before… Reaching out to teachers and administrators ahead of time is critical to having a kick-ass Day of Silence. Teachers and administrators like to know what’s going on at school, and the more you communicate with them, the more at ease they’ll be. Sharing information with teachers and administrators weeks before your Day of Silence can also clear up rumors or wrong information administrators might have heard about the event.
- During… Having many ways for students at your school to support the Day of Silence is a good way to increase the number of people participating. Having Speaking Allies who can talk during the day and explain what it’s about can help spread your message and have a deeper impact.
- After… At the end of your Day of Silence, we recommend GSAs hold a Breaking the Silence or Speak Out activity. Some GSAs get together in the quad and have a "make noise" ceremony, followed by discussion or open mic where students reflect on the day and share their experiences of harassment and discrimination. This is a great way to partner silent activities with ones that allow students tell their stories.
- At any point… If you experience opposition to your plans for GLSEN’s Day of Silence, you have rights! Read Lambda Legal’s Legal FAQ on the Day of Silence to learn more and contact GSA Network if the opposition continues.
Be sure to register your event with www.dayofsilence.org, where you can get more planning tips.