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Staying Silent for a Good Cause

Day of Silence 2014

Hannah Feakes, Contributor

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What better way to support fellow students than by protesting in silence? One day a year is dedicated to celebrating the national Day of Silence to support friends, family and peers who may be suffering in silence themselves.

According to the Day of Silence website, the organization was founded in 1996 by students attending the University of Virginia  in response to a class assignment on “non-violent protests with over 150 students participating in this inaugural event.” In 2001, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) became the official organizational sponsor of the event. It is now a worldwide cause that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.

The Nashoba Regional community has participated in the Day of Silence for eleven years and  participated again on April 11th. This event was hosted by the Gay Straight Alliance club. GSA advocates respect and equality for everyone and does not discriminate based on sexuality or gender. Rob Pulgarian has been a member of Gay Straight Alliance for almost one month, he says “Our club relates to the day of silence because many people struggle with their sexuality and feel like they are not accepted and are silenced.”

Whether students actively participate in the event or simply support the cause, the Day of Silence is gaining popularity every year. According to Pulgarian, “The participation in the day of silence has been consistently going up. This year we have over 200 speaking and non-speaking participants which is about ten percent of the Nashoba population.”

Some of the students at Nashoba have never experienced this school wide event, such as foreign exchange student Kiia Rouhelo, “I’ve never done anything like this before so I was excited to participate this year because it was for a good and important cause.”

The Day of Silence means something different for everyone and students support or participate for different reasons. Lish Ventura who has been in GSA for about a year says, “the Day of Silence is about taking a stand for something that is uncomfortable to talk about.”

Here at Nashoba participants and supporters receive pins to show their support for the LGBTQ community. “When  students wear the pins, they are supporting the day of silence, which brings awareness to not only the LGBTQ community, but people who feel  like they can’t speak up about their true selves in general,” says Pulgarian.

Supporters and participants alike come together on the Day of Silence to stand up and speak out against bullying and harassment in schools worldwide.

Photo courtesy of womenadvancenc.org

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