On April 7, 1999, thousands of students at high school and colleges across the United States and Canada will stay silent, passing out cards advocating for queer equality rather than speaking. These students will be participating in the Day of Silence.
The purpose of the Day of Silence is to create a visible, "audible" silence to protest the oppression forced upon lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. It also hopes to offer educational tools and dialogue devoted to ending the silence by organizing post-event forums and breaks. Participation in the event has grown exponentially from a single campus in 1996 into an international effort.
For the first time, the Day of Silence Project has chosen to adopt a theme: "Unity through Diversity." By focusing on this topic, DoSP hopes to encourage dialogue about the unique issues facing diverse segments of the queer community. The Project expects that these conversations will allow the community to unite to protest homophobia and heterosexism.
Chloe Palenchar, Co-Chair of DoSP, comments: "We want to help others recognize how as a community we can achieve equality by through our diversity -- along gender, sexuality, race, class, age, educational status, and every other line."
The Day of Silence Project Team is composed of volunteer youths from across the country who are dedicated to fighting for queer rights. Their energy and focus is garnering momentum and recognition as April 7 approaches. Co-Chair Jessie Gilliam comments "schools across the nation are gearing up to fight oppression and end homophobia on this day. We invite you to join our Project and work to end the silence."
If you or your school are interested in participating or learning more about the project, please contact Jessie Gilliam, Co-Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chloe Palenchar, Co-Chair, at email@example.com.