Day of Silence aimed to stop bullying
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Tomorrow, in respect to those who did not or could not speak up to bullying, students plan to remain silent for 24 hours.
People Respecting Individuality and Diversity in Education, or PRIDE, an organization whose goal is to foster a community of students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, as well as those who support the LGBT community, will be hosting this Day of Silence.
The National Day of Silence was started in 1996 and is now organized by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, which is the organization through which PRIDE hosts it.
“It’s a day where individuals are encouraged to be silent,” said Billy Garner, senior political science major and political chair of PRIDE. “Students, they’re silent…for two reasons. One reason is that silence…signifies the individuals who are being bullied and a lot of times those individuals…don’t talk about that bullying or they’re forced to be quiet because of bullying, so it signifies that. But it also signifies individuals who see bullying, who are aware of bullying, but they’re silent, and they don’t do anything.”
By participating in Day of Silence, students are bringing light to a situation that is very real for many who identify with the LGBT community.
“I was bullied for many reasons my entire life. High school brought new challenges,” said Justin Petersen, graduate music student. “I was trying to come off as straight, but people could see right through my facade. I was mainly bullied by the athletic boys. As a result, I learned their schedules and the places they hung out in the school so that I could avoid them most days.”
After the Day of Silence, PRIDE will also be hosting PRIDE week from April 21-26. There is an event planned for each day except Friday. Some activities for the week include an anti-bullying bonfire in Wilson Park on Monday, a rainbow round table on Tuesday and PRIDE prom in the Visser Hall atrium on Saturday.
“I’m just really excited because I want people to feel accepted. I want everybody to have their voice heard, and I want everybody to be treated equally,” said Kaylynn Anderson, secondary social studies education major and secretary of PRIDE.
PRIDE does various fundraisers throughout the year, such as bake sales and fundraisers at the skating rink or Spangles, to help fund activities for PRIDE week.
“We’re just here to raise awareness for the LGBT community, but you don’t have to be a part of that community to be in PRIDE. Like myself, I’m not part of the community, but I am really excited about helping people out and making an advocacy for them,” Anderson said.