Could you be quiet for a full day? Do you think you could go without speaking to friends, professors, or singing along to your iPod? When most people think of a protest, they conjure up images of large groups of people wielding picket signs, chanting in the streets. This approach, although effective, isn’t the only way you can stand up for your beliefs. Sometimes, the phrase “actions speak louder than words” is the most effective way to make a statement.
Day of Silence is a national movement speaking out against the bullying of LGBT youths. The idea is to remain quiet for one full day to commemorate those teens that have experienced the silencing effect of bullying. By keeping silent for one full day, the movement hopes to call attention to the detrimental effects of harassment. L.I.F.E (Love is for Everyone) sponsored a full week in preparation for the Day of Silence, which took place on April 19. The activities during the week of April 15-21 consisted of many informational sessions. These sessions educated students on the effects of bullying and suicide, as well as answer any questions students had about LGBT lifestyle. Finally, on April 19, participants clothed in blue vowed to remain silent for a full day as they attended class and interacted with others.
After attending a few events hosted by L.I.F.E., I felt prepared on the subject of Day of Silence. The night before, I printed off flyers for professors and peers explaining my sudden speechlessness. The day of, I wore blue and carried around a sign stating “I will not be speaking from the hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in support of Day of Silence.” As I walked around campus, I saw a few of my fellow students with signs and even one wearing duct tape across his mouth.
I couldn’t help but notice the confusion of all the nonparticipants. Even after handing them a flyer explaining my situation, they still tried talking to me, getting frustrated when I wouldn’t respond to them. When I walked through large crowds while wearing my sign, I could feel others judging me; I felt immediately relieved when I was united with my friends for lunch at the L.I.F.E. table in Waldron. Although my friends and I couldn’t converse with each other, I felt at ease just having them by my side, supporting a cause that we all thought was important. It was difficult to remain quiet for such an extended period of time. By the time 3 p.m. rolled around, I felt exhausted, both physically and mentally.
I believe Gannon University’s L.I.F.E. Week was a success. It brought attention to anti-bullying campaigns as well as helped the students understand hardships of LBGT youths. I personally felt like I made a difference on campus and am hoping for an even bigger group of participants next year.