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Chieftain Press

Day of Silence at Nashoba

Katherine Hamilton, Editor

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On Thursday, April 14th, silence spoke louder than words as over 100 students were non-speaking participants of the annual Day of Silence.

“The Day of Silence is a really important day for raising awareness among community members that LGBT people often feel silenced in their communities,” said Kristin Hera, co-adviser of Nashoba’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

The GSA  has been increasingly active at Nashoba in recent years, and the club hosted Nashoba’s first Day of Silence in 2004. According to dayofsilence.org, this day is celebrated nationally, and began in 1996. Since then, it has been an opportunity for students in middle school, high school, and college to raise awareness and peacefully protest inequality for the LGBT community. By taking a vow of silence, students represent the many members of the LGBT community who struggle with being themselves and sharing their identity with the world. It is also a protest against name-calling, bullying, and harassment that occurs in so many schools.

Mrs. Hera explained the importance of this event, saying that “many non-LGBT people often don’t think about how it might feel to not be comfortable voicing one’s true self on a daily basis.”

According to a study done by GLSEN in 2013,  9 out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school. Additionally, 30% say they have missed at least one day of school out of fear for their personal safety.

To participate, students could take a vow of silence, or be a speaking participant and support the cause without being silent. There were over 100 silent participants this year, as well as many others who chose to be speaking supporters. “I think the day really showcases how much support and acceptance we have here in our school,” Hera remarked.

Worldwide, the Day of Silence has had a major impact. Over 10,000 students register each year, and schools from all 50 states participate. The event has also spread as far as New Zealand, Singapore, and Russia.

The GSA has been extremely influential at Nashoba this year, hosting several big events throughout the year. These events have included National Coming-Out Day in October, an after-school workshop, and a Valentine’s Day fundraiser.

Many students and participants feel that the Day of Silence is well-timed due to recent events in the country. According to the Washington Post, the governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant, recently signed an extremely influential bill. The bill allows business owners to deny service to any LGBT individuals to “protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions.” The weight of these events emphasizes the great importance that the Day of Silence still holds today. While parts of the country are still looking to hold on to past opinions, the GSA is working hard to move Nashoba into the future.

Mrs. Hera explained that the GSA has done a lot this year, but they still have many plans for upcoming events. “We are currently working on a program to help students and staff members understand the impact of hurtful language,” Mrs. Hera said. “We hope to continue promoting acceptance here at NRHS.”

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