Cal students observe Day of Silence

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Cal students observe Day of Silence

Adam Jackson, A&E Editor

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Communication has always been a vital part of society, to the point where it is nearly impossible to go a day without it.

But on April 17, students across the nation vowed to not speak for an entire day to recognize the Day of Silence.

The Day of Silence, first organized at the University of Virgina in 1996, was started for people to take a stand against homophobic bullying.

It’s a national event now hosted at middle and high schools, and colleges, and it is usually organized by schools’ Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs.

Specifically, it is designed to simulate the way that homophobic bullying forces LGBTQIA students to hide who they are in their everyday lives, or rather, stay silent about themselves.

It brings to attention the oppression and discrimination that goes on in America’s education system in a hands-on, first-person way.

This was my third and last Day of Silence at Cal High, although I plan to continue participating in college.

This year was also one of the more eventful ones in which I have participated.

The day started when I woke up to my mother asking me if I wanted coffee or a milkshake for the ride to school, as she does almost every day. I nearly spoke my answer out loud, before suddenly remembering my commitment for that day.

Instead, I simply raised one finger, to signify the first choice, coffee.

Later, during French 2, I had several freshman asking me what I was doing, as well as several other students giving reasons that they couldn’t participate.

I found that it was more difficult to refuse speech in a language class than in any other class.

During brunch, I was unable to order food in the lunchroom because it required me to talk.

I am ashamed to admit that I broke my vow toward the end of the day. During lunch, I could not bear the silence any longer, and I spoke to my friends. Several people noted that I was talking again, and gave me disapproving looks.

I attempted to re-silence myself during sixth period, but I broke it once more. This time, I continued talking until the end of the day, which I regretted almost immediately after the final bell rang.

This is the first year that I have failed, and I hope that it will not happen again. I made a second vow after school was over, that I would never again break the silence before the time was up.

Despite my breaking of the vow, I was proud to see the way that the rest of the school completed the Day of Silence. One of my friends saw it through all the way to the end and I congratulated him.

The Day of Silence is an important event as it forces people to stop hiding their knowledge of bullying and stand up for the rights of the oppressed. Bringing attention to a cause is the best way to help those who need it.

According to GLSEN’s 2005 National School Climate Survey, 80 percent of LGBTQIA students report some sort of harassment or violence,such as sexual harassment, rumors, or cyberbullying. Thirty percent have been reported missing from school at least once.

Despite this, many people don’t realize the extent of the bullying that LGBTQIA students face every day.

Others choose to ignore the violence, or make excuses, even as it happens right in front of their faces.

The Day of Silence’s goal is to bring attention to the plight of LGBTQIA students and help stop the bullying that they receive on a daily basis.

As a gay male, I am grateful for this movement. Although I do not receive a particularly large or vicious amount of bullying, I do empathize with those who do.

It’s important to realize that just because something isn’t happening to a single person in particular, that doesn’t mean that it’s not happening at all. It’s not OK to ignore those in trouble on account of personal distance from the event or cause.

Everyone must stand up for minorities, otherwise change will never happen.

Today, and all other days, I stand with those who are oppressed.