Day of Silence: April 23rd

Cassidy Wong

Day of Silence: April 23rd

Cassidy Wong

4.21.2021

Have you seen or heard of students taking a vow of silence on a certain day each April? It may have been on Day of Silence (DOS) in support of the LGBTQ+ community. GSAFE says DOS aims to bring to light the bullying and discrimination that silences the LGBTQ+ and make sure it is unacceptable in schools and elsewhere. DOS takes place every April 23rd.

Now sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Day of Silence was originally student-led. It was started in 1996 by a group of students for a class project at the University of Virginia. According to GSAFE, over 150 students participated in the first year.

GLSEN states that “students go through the school day without speaking, ending the day with Breaking the Silence rallies and events to share their experiences during the protest and bring attention to ways their schools and communities can become more inclusive.” Students may carry around notecards that give an explanation of why they are not speaking. Given by GSAFE, an example of a message written on a card, also called a “speaking card,” might be: “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, discrimination, and prejudice.  I believe that ending the silence is the first step towards fighting these injustices.  Think about the voices you are not hearing today.  What are you doing to end the silence?” (GSAFE)

It doesn’t have to be just those who consider themselves part of the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone is welcome to participate. If you are concerned about getting told to break your silence, it’s part of your rights from the First Amendment that you are able to take the oath (GSAFE). Most teachers will be accommodating if told ahead of time that you are participating.

If you’d like to find out more, here are some links:

GLSEN Day of Silence

GSAFE Day of Silence FAQs