Juggling between homework assignments, extracurricular activities, and organizing a Day of Silence can be a lot! There are so many students who tell me how they spent weeks preparing for the Day of Silence only to be unprepared the morning of their event. From Day of Silence t-shirts being dirty or wrinkled, to speaking cards getting lost, there are a number of ways that your last minute prepping can go awry.
So, double check your to-do list tonight and make sure you'll be set to run a smooth event tomorrow. Here are a few tips to help you in your last minute preparations:
1. Make a to-do list of last minute tasks
2. The night before your event call all of the people helping you organize to make sure everyone is on the same page
3. Find, wash, iron and otherwise make pretty all of your DOS paraphernalia
4. Print out all of the materials you will need
5. Make sure your camera battery is charged
6. Double check your to-do list
Ready, set, go!
>Every year after the Day of Silence we tally up the numbers of participants and supporters to share with our donors and to highlight the importance of the work that GLSEN does. Don't you want to be counted?
Students (middle, high school and college) register here.
Adults - Support our students by signing the pledge.
Help us prove that people care about ending anti-LGBT bullying.
>This is a guest post from GLSEN Holiday:
In some communities there are people who oppose the Day of Silence (DOS) for various reasons. If you're looking for ways to address critics here is a bit of information.
What do you have to say about potential opponents to the Day of Silence?
The issue at hand is the bullying, harassment, name-calling and violence that students see and face in our schools. The Day of Silence is an activity created and led by students to educate their peers and bring an end to this harassment.
More info can be found on the Day of Silence FAQ page.
Those who do not support the Day of Silence often protest, but rarely contribute positively to finding ways to end anti-LGBT harassment. Some individuals and groups organize events in response to the Day of Silence. These folks sometimes misunderstand and frequently mischaracterize the basic purpose of the Day of Silence. Bringing attention to opponents only adds false credibility to their misinformation about the Day of Silence, GLSEN and the thousands of American students taking action on April 17th.
If you face hostile students or organizations in your school on the Day of Silence remember to remain calm. GLSEN encourages you to not get into a debate, make gestures and certainly not to get into a physical altercation. If you continue to be harassed, we advise you to contact your GSA advisor or other ally school staff person.
GLSEN looks forward to engaging all organizations and individuals who share the Day of Silence vision of schools free from anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment.
>As the Day of Silence approaches we’ve been getting lots of questions and comments along two similar but distinct threads on our various websites and in our email.
1) Do I need to be silent all day? Can I communicate at all? Can I blog/tweet/facebook?
2) Being silent doesn’t help and only perpetuates the problem. We should be speaking out.
The answer to both of these is similar: being silent has been and continues to be a very powerful way to create positive dialogue around the problem of anti-LGBT bullying for many students across the country. However, each person who participates in the Day of Silence has a different way of participating.
For some, the best way to participate is by being completely silent, including not participating in online communication. For others, the best way to participate is by spending the day speaking out about the issues of LGBT bullying. Some who participate get limited approval from their schools for their participation and so can only be silent during breaks between classes. There are many ways of participation ranging from complete silence to no silence.
The point is that the DOS is a day to bring attention to the problem of anti-LGBT bullying and each person who participates must determine how they can best use, or not use, their voice to do that. If you feel you will have the deepest positive impact by remaining completely silent and have the appropriate approvals to do so then go for it. If you feel that in your situation, you can have a deeper positive impact by speaking out then that should be your way of observing. No one can make that determination but you.
Your voice, whether silent or loud, WILL make a difference this Friday and the Day of Silence will speak volumes.
There were a number of activities involved, but one of the most exciting and fascinating of them was the "rush hour rally". I'm not sure if this is what they officially call it, but that is in effect what it was.
A group of about 50 students, chapter leaders, parents, and GSA advisers gathered at a public fountain near a busy intersection. They were decked out in Day of Silence t-shirts and rainbow paraphernalia. They had noisemakers and posters that said "Honk if you support safe schools!", "Support the Day of Silence!", "Equality is a right!" and other catchy slogans. They lined the sidewalk and encouraged rush hour motorists to honk in support of the Day of Silence.
The air was filled with excitement and camaraderie and every time someone unbeknown to the Day of Silence would honk there would be an overwhelming uproar. They did an amazing job of raising awareness about the DOS to the Kansas city community. It was phenomenal.
Here are a few ideas to incorporate for your Breaking the Silence event:
1. Have a silent countdown
2. Have all event attendees write their comments on a huge banner
3. Have some of the DOS participants speak out about their experiences of being silent all day, and about their experiences of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment
4. Invite local performers, singers, musicians, poets, theater troupes, etc.
5. Have food! Have music! Have fun!
Looking back on my first Day of Silence, I realize that it was rough. I can remember the negativity that originated from the student body at my high school. I remember the name calling, the threats, and the hate. I remember it being called a "Gay Day", and a lot of the community getting outraged that the school would allow such a thing.
Most of all though, I remember the support that came from those who cared. The students and teachers who stood by me throughout the day knew that we were standing up for rights that EVERYONE deserved.
Now, a year later, it's amazing to see how far we've come. It leaves me in awe to think about how much our support base has grown. Now I have a established Gay Straight Alliance with a student base of about thirty members... not bad for a school with less than one thousand in total. It gives me great pride to see how far my community has come, all because of a group of people who stood up for what they believed in.
>Here's a school that has not only organized a Day of Silence, but has created an entire week of tolerance education!
Geneva IL The Gay/Straight Alliance Club at Geneva High School will host several optional activities this week to promote a Week of Tolerance...
Friday - Day of Silence, where Gay/Straight Alliance students will remain silent and not send text messages during the school day. Students will have permission not to speak from their teachers. All students will be encouraged to wear their Gay/Straight Alliance at Geneva High School T-shirts.
- Geneva students host Tolerance Week (The Chronicle)
>Although the national Day of Silence will take place this Friday on April 17, due to different school break schedules some students have already had their activities. Here are two stories students posted on MySpace:
"We sold stickers and cards as a fundraiser, and I handed out duct tape to those who wanted to tape their mouths shut and we did get a lot of negative comments. But during the last two periods the club met and there were about 30 people, which was amazing considering our last meeting was only about 15. The day was amazing, and I loved how this day just brought us all together."
Adrianne D. / Connecticut
"My club did DOS Friday April 3rd since we had spring break this week. We didn’t really get a chance to plan much but we made signs and t-shirts. Even though the posters were torn down 10 minutes after being put up almost every time, we kept putting them up and wore SHHH on our shirts.
"I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this event. It has changed the judgment from some of my friends and teachers and it was a total blast. It showed me how to handle my temper with people who don't understand the LGBT community; it showed me how to not respond to their negative responses and actions. THANK YOU!"
Emma I. / Tennessee.
>Get Tweet the Silence buttons, click here.
[updated: 4-14-09 14:21pm]
Let’s get a Twitter movement going for this year’s Day of Silence. It’s a way everyone can get involved even if your school isn’t participating in the day of action. Let’s generate some Twitter buzz to support everyone taking a vow of silence.
From now until Friday the 17th tweet at least once a day about the Day of Silence. And invite your friends to tweet about it too. And tweet them to become a Day of Silence follower.
On Friday the 17th
On the Day of Silence tweet about it as much as possible.
Important: If you are a student in middle or high school, make sure you only tweet during times that your school permits. Tweet in the morning before school starts, at lunch (if allowed), and especially after school.
If you can’t tweet any other time, plan to tweet within one hour after classes end. We hope that will create a rolling, growing Twitter movement from the East to the West coast as schools close for the day. Students in Alaska and Hawaii, join in when you can. And if you live outside the U.S. you can be a part too.
Tweet what you’re doing for DOS. Tweet how many students are participating at your school. Tweet the different ways you’re getting support. Tweet if you’re holding a Breaking the Silence event. Tweet about how many buttons you’re wearing. Tweet about the reactions of your classmates.
Basically, if it has to do with DOS, tweet it in the days leading up to Friday.
Tagging your tweets
Don’t forget to mention DOS (@dayofsilence) by using the “@” or “#” tags. For general Twitter info, click here. (Now you can use the “@dayofsilence” anywhere in your tweet, not just at the beginning.) More about this tag, click here.
We have Tweet the Silence! buttons for your web site. To get one, click here.
The Day of Silence is almost here, so get tweeting.
>If you’ve been following GLSEN's webpage, or the GLSEN or Day of Silence Twitter, you’ve probably heard about Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover. On Monday, April 6 Carl hung himself in his bedroom with an electrical cord. Carl experienced extreme amounts of anti-gay bullying at his school in Springfield, MA. [corrected 4/15] He was only 11 years old.
Tragedies such as this serve as an extreme reminder that schools are not safe. That's why it’s as important as ever for all of us stand against anti-LGBT bullying together.
On April 17 you will make a strong statement against anti-LGBT bullying in schools. By participating in the Day of Silence you will represent all students who have felt silenced by the bullying and harassment they experience in schools every day. Most importantly, you will be taking a step towards making your school and all schools safer. And, as we have been so sadly reminded, that’s exactly what we need right now.
Thank you for all the amazing work you do to make schools safe for all students, and keep the ideas coming on how you can have an amazing and impactful Day of Silence! What are you going to do to end the silence?