What a Day of Silence today was...it was the first we had at my high school with the new GSA (called Spectrum), which I kind of made and run.
Pre-DoS stuff was messed up this year since it's the same week as the ACT/PSAE tests. For some reason or another the administration doesn't let anyone announce anything until after the tests (on Wednesday and Thursday), so we could only make one announcement, which was today. But we had a table in the lobby during lunch all week where kids could receive information, get "speaking cards" that explain DoS, which they could hand out to friends and such today, and sign a pledge. I think we had over 150 people sign pledges.
Day of Silence happened to fall on the same day as the in-school percussion ensemble performance, in which I played saxophone in a couple of big band features. When I initially found out they'd be the same day, I was upset since I wouldn't be able to have a big affect on all my classes. But I actually liked it better this way since it was much more of a challenge, what with being around friends all day. And I did still have an impact on everybody.
I made an announcement over the intercom this morning explaining DoS (I know, I know, I talked...but it was for the greater good). I was nervous as hell and had a little bit of difficulty speaking--I mean, it's hard enough talking about gay issues with more than five or so people present, but addressing 2500 kids and over 100 faculty members? Wow. There was a paper I read off of, which an assistant principal had to approve, and he said to me, "Now, don't change a SINGLE word of this. Don't add anything extra," and although it was kind of like getting bitch-slapped by The Man, I was totally fine with it. Just being able to talk about gay issues over the intercom was reaching an amazing milestone. Seriously, my school is now lightyears ahead of where it was last year.
I was around fellow band kids who were also in the percussion ensemble the whole day, and everyone was of course very supportive. It rocked. When I arrived at rehearsal after reading the announcement, a few kids gave me high-fives--even my band director, which really made me smile. I stopped by the information table during lunch, and a mom, who was helping sell ice cream or something with her daughter and had talked to our teacher sponsor for Spectrum, who was also down there, said that she really appreciated everything that Spectrum's been doing and would like to make a contribution. Twenty-five dollars, man. I received so much support today...it was simply incredible. I don't think I've gotten that much my whole LIFE. Things got pretty depressing a month or so ago when the administration kept on beating Spectrum down and I felt like no one was supporting us at all, but today reminded me why I wanted to start this club in the first place--to unite all those awesome supporters out there and truly make a difference--together.
Even though I wasn't there in my classes to see it, I heard from my Spectrumites that there were A LOT of kids participating. In some classes over half the kids were silent, and the effect was huge. Honestly, I was only expecting about forty or so kids to join in. I am VERY proud.
As far as my own silence goes, it was definitely a powerful experience. I felt so isolated, alienated, aggravated--it really struck home when I realized some kids go through this everyday, more or less. It's heartbreaking. I could literally sense myself being pushed away from everyone else, and even myself--I just didn't feel like me anymore. This year's DoS definitely had a huge impact on me.
After school we had a breaking the silence party in the park. We only had about 15 people, but we still had a really snazzy time. It was a great ending to a great day. I'm all smiles now. =]