The National Day of Silence is a student-led event that brings attention to the silencing effects of bullying and harassment on students, particularly LGBTQ students. Day of Silence was started in 1996 at the University of Virginia (GLSEN). Since then it has spread to middle schools, high schools, and colleges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as New Zealand, Singapore and Russia. More than 10,000 students register with GLSEN every year.
The Wilson College Allies club wanted Wilson College involved too. Club members sat in a table in Lenfest Lobby beginning Monday, April 17 to collect pledges from students, faculty and staff. The Day of Silence 2017 event officially took place Friday, April 21. Students at Wilson College and around the world showed their support by being silent for part of the day.
The Wilson College Allies hosted a “Breaking the Silence Tie-Dye War” at 5 p.m. on the event day. The “Breaking the Silence” event is different at every school. Some choose to have a party, while others have an open forum for students and staff, to share their experiences and reflect on the day.
Members of the Allies club hope to see the Day of Silence grow here at Wilson College as the years go on. The students, faculty and staff were all very supportive of the idea and many were willing to sign a pledge, although some expressed finding it difficult to stay silent.
Bullying and harassment has negative effects for anyone who has/is experiencing it. This is why movements like the National Day of Silence are important. “I think it’s a powerful representation of the effects of bullying. The Day of Silence isn’t some gimmick,” expressed Molly Lemke, “it shows a small portion of what happens every day to people who fall outside the norm.”
For more information on this event and Day of Silence history, go to www.glsen.org/day-of-silence/resources.