13th Annual National Day of Silence, Friday April 17, 2009
The 13th Annual National Day of Silence is taking place today in thousands of schools across the United States. Participating students will take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment, and some will hand out speaking cards, which read:.
"Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender 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."
Some students are holding the day this year in memory of Carl Walker-Hoover, an 11-year-old from Springfield, Mass., who took his life April 6 after enduring constant bullying at school, including anti-LGBT attacks. Carl, who did not identify as gay, would have turned 12 on the Day of Silence.
Two of the top three reasons students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 report by GLSEN and Harris Interactive. The top reason was physical appearance.
Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to GLSEN's 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 LGBT students.
On April 1, 2009, a 'Day of Silence' resolution was introduced into Congress.
Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and 33 cosponsors introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (H.Con.Res. 92) to recognize and support GLSEN's 13th annual National Day of Silence on April 17.
"Supporting the goals and ideals of the National Day of Silence in bringing attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and trans-gender name-calling, bullying, and harassment faced by individuals in schools" is at the core of H.Con.Res. 92. An overview of the Resolution can be read, here.
If your representative is not on the list you might want to consider calling or emailing them and urge them to become a sponsor of the legislation. You can find your US House of Representative, here.