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Area college, high school students take part in Day of Silence on April 26
Area college, high school students take part in Day of Silence on April 26April 20, 2006Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
On Wednesday, April 26, local schools and colleges will be a little quieter as students in and around the city of Syracuse will join more than 500,000 students nationwide in the Day of Silence, a protest against the discrimination, harassment and abuse–in effect the silencing–faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) students and their allies in schools.
The Day of Silence will be held during school hours at local schools and colleges. Hundreds of local participants will be silent on April 26, wearing stickers and t-shirts for their cause and passing out “speaking cards” that read:
“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, prejudice and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?”
Adrea Jaehnig, director of Syracuse University’s LGBT Resource Center, says: “Thirty percent of LGBT middle and high school students report missing school within the past month out of fear for their personal safety, and 69 percent of all students say they frequently hear terms like ‘you’re so gay’ or worse being used in a negative way to hurt someone. When students feel unwelcome, unsafe or miss school entirely, learning is impossible.
“No student should be denied their education due to another student’s bullyingand harassment; anti-bias policies need to be developed and teachers need training and support to respond to these everyday occurrences. The students participating in the Day of Silence are bringing a problem to our attention. This is something that we all should be concerned about.”
To end the Day of Silence, local students will gather at 5 p.m. on the steps of SU’s Hendricks Chapel for the third annual Loud and Proud Rally. “This rally recognizes the struggles that voiceless LGBT students face in schools every day while empowering participants who have remained silent in solidarity to raise their voices–literally and figuratively–and draw attention to this cause,” says Jay Tifone, LGBT Resource Center graduate assistant.
The Loud and Proud Rally is open to all members of the community. Parking is available in the Irving Parking Garage at a discounted rate of $3 per car.
For more information and a complete collection of organizing materials, visit http://www.dayofsilence.org.