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March 29, 2010

>Week 3 (March 29-April 2): Grow your Support
The more support you have, the more effective your event can be. Continue talking with teachers, students and community members about ways they can support your Day of Silence activities.

  • Educate: There are a lot of ways that your teachers can support the Day of Silence. Print out the Educators Guide and give it to teachers you think would be interested.
  • Find Community Support: It’s good to notify local supportive community groups of your events, especially if you’re holding a rally, training, or social to Break the Silence. Notify and, if applicable, invite community groups. Also, there are 30 local GLSEN Chapters across the country. Click here to find out if one is near you!
  • Cross it Off: It’s possible that there are a few items on your task list that didn’t get completed in the past few weeks. Take some time to make sure that everyone is taking care of their tasks.
  • Show Appreciation: It’s important to let your Team members know that you and others appreciate their work. Take some time during your weekly meeting to let everyone express their appreciation of their fellow teammates.
  • Schedule a Participant Meeting: This is for everyone who intends on participating in Day of Silence. This may be the same group as your Team of organizers, but if not, schedule a second meeting for next week so you can prepare students for DOS.
  • And don’t forget to schedule a Team meeting for next week!

If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Day of Silence please email us at

And don't forget to join the conversation on the Day of Silence Facebook Page and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

March 29, 2010

>Order customized T-shirts here.

What's the best part of Day of Silence? Raising awareness about anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools, and encouraging others to take a stand for equality with you.

What's the second best part of Day of Silence? Fighting anti-LGBT discrimination and looking snazzy at the same time, of course!

Students, educators and supporters can order their Day of Silence t-shirts--and if they want to, customize the shirts to feature the name of their school, Gay-Straight Alliance or other student club. But, be sure to order them soon, so they reach you before the Day of Silence on April 16! The last day to order customized shirts is March 31 (this Wednesday).

The t-shirts are produced and sold by our friends at Nightsweats and T-Cells, a design and printing company in Cleveland, Ohio. Not only are they fantastic longtime supporters of the Day of Silence, but they do lots of great work raising awareness about LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS through clothing and other custom-made materials.

So, to recap: if you order Day of Silence t-shirts for you and your peers, you'll help to spread the message about the Day of Silence in your school and community, you'll be supporting an LGBT-friendly and socially aware company, and you'll look (even more) awesome on the Day of Silence. That's a win-win-win situation!

Just in case you missed it, the link to the t-shirt order form is here.

Don't forget--those who register for the Day of Silence online can receive free organizing and promotional materials, such as Day of Silence buttons, wristbands, stickers and message cards. (However, if you're so excited to get these items that you just can't wait, they're all available on the GLSEN online store!)

March 25, 2010

>We at GLSEN get a lot of questions about Day of Silence. Each week leading up to DOS we'll post the answer to a common question about organizing and participating in a Day of Silence event.

Why silence? Aren’t we trying to fight against silence?
A silent protest can be a peaceful way to bring urgent attention to an important issue. Silence as a method of organizing is much different than silence that is coerced or forced through oppressive bullying, harassment and intimidation. A silent protest is active, rather than passive, and causes people to pay attention. Silent demonstrations can:

  • Bring attention to an issue and encourage reflection on the issue;
  • Simulate the how others are silenced;
  • Focus the attention on the issue or cause and not the protestor;
  • Demonstrate that the demonstrators desire peaceful resolution;
  • Spark discussion and dialogue.

Through your active silence on the Day of Silence you will send a message that bullying and harassment faced by LGBT and ally youth affects you, your school and community.

And remember, the Day of Silence is a moment to open the conversation on this issue. Follow up your participation with a Breaking the Silence event. You can plan a rally at your school, facilitate a workshop for students and teachers about LGBT issues, throw a party with your GSA or host a discussion group with DOS participants—the sky’s the limit!

March 22, 2010

>Week 4 (March 22-26): Spread the Word

We’re only ONE MONTH away from Day of Silence! Now that you know what your DOS event is going to look like, it’s time to let everyone know. Split up outreach tasks among your team members so that you each can contribute to getting the word out.

  • Posters: Design posters to put up around school. Make sure to include the name of your club, the date of the event and contact info so people can get involved. And you can hold a party to design posters as a group.
  • Notify the Press: How do you tell the local news about your event? With a Press Release! Send a Press Release to your local newspaper, television and radio news channels. Check out the sample Press Release in the Day of Silence Organizing Manual to help.
  • Fundraising: Do you need money for supplies, promotional materials, DOS t-shirts? Begin fundraising by this week. Ask family members, businesses or community organizations for donations. You could plan a raffle or a bake sale.
  • Follow Up: At this point it’s probably good to start having short meetings with your DOS Team every week. Schedule a time where you call can follow-up on your tasks. Can’t meet in person? Set up Yahoo or AIM chat to keep in touch!
  • And don’t forget to schedule a Team meeting for next week!

If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Day of Silence please email us at

And don't forget to join the conversation on the Day of Silence Facebook Page and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

March 19, 2010

>An appeals court in California recently ruled on a case of cyberbullying between private high school students, finding that the anti-gay sentiments and death threats that a group of students posted on a classmate's website were not protected by the First Amendment.

While the 15-year-old victim identifies as straight, six of his fellow students at Harvard-Westlake--an elite private high school in Los Angeles--targeted him for his perceived sexual orientation and proclaimed him a target, "wanted dead or alive." If that's supposed to be some sort of a joke, we're not laughing.

The student's parents pulled him out of school and moved to Northern California to protect their son, and filed a lawsuit against the bullies and their parents for violating their child's civil rights. While the defendants sought to qualify the comments as constitutionally protected under free speech rights, the appeals court ruled that the threats did not merit this protection. In other words, the original case against the bullies' families can move forward.

Hopefully, this case will serve as a reminder that any student, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, can be hurt by anti-LGBT harassment--and that such bigotry and intolerance won't come without consequences. Do you think the courts were correct, in recognizing and upholding the difference between free speech and hate speech?

March 18, 2010

>We at GLSEN get a lot of questions about Day of Silence. Each week leading up to DOS we'll post the answer to a common question about organizing and participating in a Day of Silence event.

I want to do Day of Silence at my school. Should I talk to teachers or the principal beforehand? How do I get permission from my school?

We recommend that students, GSAs and other student groups try to work with their school to obtain the proper permission to hold Day of Silence activities. Participation supported by the school has more impact and makes for a more fun Day of Silence for everyone. Talk early with your school’s administration. Offer the organizing materials from so they know more about the event. Provide them with your group’s ideas or plan for DOS. This can go a long way to assuring a fun and effective Day of Silence!

If you have a question about the Day of Silence email us at

March 15, 2010

>Week 5 (March 15-19): Holding Your Meeting

It’s time to get the ball rolling! Plan a meeting with your DOS Team. This could be your GSA or student club, or a group of interested students and your sponsoring faculty member.

  • Be prepared: Make an agenda so that your meeting goes smoothly and you accomplish everything necessary to take the next steps. And print out some of the materials referenced in the list below to pass out to the Team members.
  • Brainstorm: What will your event look like? Who will be involved? Will you have a Breaking the Silence event? Discuss all the possibilities for your DOS event. And be creative! Check out DOS on Facebook to see what other students are planning.
  • Decisions: There are a lot of ways to hold a successful Day of Silence, but you can’t do them all! Involve your team in the decision-making process to assure their support as you organize the event.
  • Set Goals: Goals are a great way to determine if your organizing is on the right track. How many people do you want to take a vow of silence? How many cards do you want to pass out? How many people do you want to attend your Breaking the Silence event?
  • Delegate: No one person should do all the work alone. Split up the tasks to make the work easier and to get more people involved.
  • Register: Make sure ALL the members of your team register for DOS.
  • And don’t forget to schedule a Team meeting for next week!

If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Day of Silence please email us at

And don't forget to join the conversation on the Day of Silence Facebook Page and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

March 08, 2010


The Day of Silence is coming up quickly! Each week we will posting helpful organizing tips to help you plan and coordinate your Day of Silence activities.

Week 6 (March 8-12): Getting Started

We recommend you start planning for your Day of Silence at least six weeks before the event if you haven’t already. For this week focus on laying the groundwork for your organizing.

  • Register: Go to and register your participation in the Day of Silence. If you're already registered, make sure to update your address on so we
    Publish Post
    can send you free DOS products.

  • Gather Information: Find resources to help you start your planning on

  • Find Support: Discuss your participation with the advisor of your GSA or student club, or another trusted faculty member. It’s a good idea to print out resources from to give to potential supportive faculty.

  • Get Permission: Your Day of Silence is likely to be more successful if the school approves of your activities. Research and follow the proper protocol for approving an activity at your school. Ask your supportive staff member to help.

  • Build a Team: Find peers who want to contribute. Talk to members of your GSA and/or other allies. Tell them about the Day of Silence and ask if they would be interested in getting involved. Make sure to check out the resources about building coalitions at

  • Schedule for next week: Make sure to schedule a Team meeting with your supportive faculty member and interested students for the upcoming week to keep making progress!

If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Day of Silence please email us at

And don't forget to join the conversation on the Day of Silence Facebook Page and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

Best of luck, and happy organizing!

February 05, 2010

>Last week, U.S. Representative Jared Polis and 60 bipartisan cosponsors introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), a bill that would institute protections in public schools against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Federal law already prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of race, nationality, gender, religion and disability, and it's great that Solis and other members of Congress understand the need to extend these statutes. As GLSEN's 2007 National School Climate Survey revealed, nearly 9 in 10 LGBT middle and high school students have faced some form of bullying or harassment--whether verbal or physical--in school. Passing and enacting SNDA is a huge step forward in combating these alarming figures.

SNDA has already seen wide support from an array of professional and advocacy organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund and the School Social Work Association (not to mention GLSEN!). Recently, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) threw its support behind SNDA, citing the detrimental effects that bullying and harassment can have on students' emotional well-being and academic performance. As NAASP's Executive Director, Gerald N. Tirozzi, stated:

A safe and secure learning environment is vital to the educational success of all students...This legislation will enhance the ability of teachers and administrators to deliver a valuable education in public schools that are free of bullying, harassment and other forms of harmful discrimination.

It's great to see that national education organizations such as NASSP recognize the need to protect and best serve all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Be sure to stay tuned to the GLSEN Blog--we'll be providing updates about SNDA as the bill moves forward in Congress!

January 13, 2010

>We're getting closer and closer to the first day of voting for the Chase Community Giving campaign on Facebook, which begins on Friday, January 15! Help GLSEN spread the word about our Big Idea, and encourage others to vote for us, by using the images below on your Facebook profiles, on personal blogs, and anywhere else you wish!

To download an image to your computer...
PC Users: right-click the image and select "Save image as..."
Mac Users: click on the image while holding the Control key and select "Save Image As..."

Use this image for your Facebook profile picture:

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Use these images on blogs, on MySpace or anywhere else you can spread the word. (You can also copy and paste the HTML code below each image into blog posts, blog sidebars, or MySpace profiles!)

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