What is National Day of Silence?
The National Day of Silence, created in 1996, is a student-led demonstration for their LGBTQ+ peers and allies to take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and LGBTQ+ discrimination in schools. Specifically, students attend school without speaking to anyone all day. Once all classes have adjourned, they break the silence with rallies or community events to share experiences and create ways to become more inclusive.
Why is the National Day of Silence important?
Many members of the LGBTQ+ community feel the weight of oppression in their lives. With the Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, there has been a high rate of violence and harassment against trans and non-binary people. Because there has also been a large number of anti-trans athletic bills introduced, LGBTQ+ individuals, especially trans and non-binary members, may continue to feel even more targeted and excluded. However, on this particular day, while allies can show their support, LGBTQ+ members can also share their experiences in order to raise awareness about the issues that are affecting them.
What can students do for National Day of Silence?
Understand that silence is a protected First Amendment right, but some schools may disapprove student participation in this event, which may lead to academic or disciplinary consequences. With that said, engaging can be risky yet rewarding, but it is not a requirement to become an “authentic” ally or member of the LGBTQ+ community. Given that your safety should always be a top priority, only you can gauge your comfort levels and understand what will be most appropriate for you. If you are not ready to actively participate at school, that’s okay! You can also research alternative ways by participating in online rallies or sharing some social media posts to spread awareness.
Nevertheless, students interested in participating in the National Day of Silence can register online to participate, check out resources, or attend virtual/ in-person rallies in their communities. Spreading awareness through social media and uplifting others at this time is crucial to expose the discrimination and inequalities exhibited in schools across the nation. This is a day to connect with others and uplift each other’s messages, so that schools and various communities realize the need for inclusivity.