Day of Silence 2022
By Eva Grace Martinez
Volume 2 Issue 6
April 14, 2022
Image provided by GLSEN
Hi everyone! My name is Eva Martinez, and while I am an editor here at NORTH STAR, I am also president of Valley Stream North’s LBGT+ affinity group: The Alliance. The primary goal of The Alliance is to make North a safer space for all students by creating a safe space for its LGBT+ students. Although we have many events throughout the year, such as the participation in the Social Justice Summit, in my opinion, no event is more impactful than the Day of Silence (DOS).
Started by a group of students at the University of Virginia in 1996, the Day of Silence has grown into a national student lead movement in high schools and colleges all across America. Organized by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, the DOS is a day for allyship and represents the silencing power of homophobia. This year the day took on extra meaning for North’s Alliance, as many also felt that their silence was an act of protest against Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education Bill,” a.k.a. the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill.
From a personal standpoint, it is inspiring to see an increase in students participating in the DOS; however, it is still an incredible challenge. During the DOS, all participating members were instructed to refrain from: talking, texting, using social media, miming, or any other method of non-verbal communication. If any of our readers know me in person, they also likely know one other thing about me: I do not ever stop talking. With the added limitation of not being able to communicate non-verbally, I knew I was in for a rough one this year.
My primary feeling throughout the day was frustration; being unable to communicate in any way made a large portion of my daily tasks incredibly difficult, and I found myself left with questions in class that I simply couldn’t ask for clarification on. Additionally, several students kindly asked why I was not speaking. However, all I could do was show them my card, which simply says "How can you help end the silence?” Also, to the person I bumped into in the hallway, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude; I just wasn’t allowed to apologize verbally. Yet, my frustrations represented the true point of the DOS. Homophobia, and its impacts, whether socially or legislatively, have a significantly negative effect on LGBT+ students. When those students feel afraid, they may find themselves excluded from the ease of interaction enjoyed by others.
Overall, the DOS is a challenging but meaningful event. I encourage those who have any further questions to stop by our next Alliance meeting after the break: Monday, April 25th, room 309.