New York, NY
– The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, is pleased to announce that the Day of Silence
observed last Wednesday, April 13, 2005, was the most successful and widely supported since the student-led annual event’s inception in 1996. An estimated record 450,000 students from more than 4,000 K-12 schools, colleges and universities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico participated in the day’s events this year. The Day of Silence
is an annual, national student-led effort in which participants take a vow of silence to peacefully protest the discrimination and harassment faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in schools.
“The Day of Silence received
|Photo: Portion of mural|
display at Breaking
the Silence Albany.
an unprecedented outpouring of participation, support and attention this year which speaks to both the level of awareness that now exists around the harassment faced by LGBT students and the understanding that action must be taken to combat this very real and dangerous problem,” said GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings. “I want to personally thank the Day of Silence 2005 National Student Leadership Team that worked to coordinate this activity across the country and the students and adults who organized observances and rallies in communities around the nation.”
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) for the fourth year in a row introduced a resolution calling on Congress to recognize the effort of students organizing the Day of Silence and encouraging units of local governments, states and school districts to protect LGBT students from discrimination and harassment. Congressman Sam Farr’s (D-CA) presentation of the resolution on the House floor was broadcast nationally on C-SPAN.
In addition to observances throughout the day on campuses, many “Breaking the Silence” rallies, events at which students come together at the Day’s end to express themselves and share their experiences with guest speakers and members of their local communities, took place across the country. Communities and cities holding these events include, but were not limited too: Albany, NY; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Fresno, CA; Honolulu, HI; Kansas City, MO; Lincoln, NE; Madison, WI; New York, NY; Rochester, NY; Windsor, CT and many others.
GLSEN also officially launched the Teach Respect, a national “Breaking the Silence” event that seeks to educate, inform and inspire Americans to address the serious problems of anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment that affects ALL students in our nation’s schools today. The Teach Respect PSAs can be viewed and heard on a re-launched educational website, www.teachrespect.com. The site will also provide information and resources about what can individuals can do within their homes, schools and communities to curb anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.
GLSEN’s 2003 National School Climate Survey found that more than 4 out of 5 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and nearly 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. The Day of Silence is one way students and their allies are making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America’s schools.
About the Day of Silence
The Day of Silence, a project of GLSEN in collaboration with the United States Student Association (USSA), is a student-led day of action where those who support making anti-LGBT bias unacceptable in schools take a day-long vow of silence to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment – in effect the silencing – experienced by LGBT students and their allies. Across the country last year an estimated 450,000 students in over 3,000 K-12 schools and over 600 colleges took part in the Day of Silence. This year the Day of Silence has already been endorsed by over 150 organizations and several local governments have issued proclamations about the day.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, now in its 10th year, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for ALL students. GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.