Day of Silence Participation Ideas

As you’re planning how you’ll participate in Day of Silence this year to Rise Up in support of LGBTQ+ youth, check out the examples below for ideas about actions to take!

Host a Day of Silence event

  • Host a student art exhibition displaying why students are rising up for LGBTQ+ rights, and display the art all around school or  invite other students to view during structured times in the school day.
  • Host a DOS fashion show with participants wearing outfits that represent Rising Up, inviting participants to speak loudly through their clothing and expression.
  • Host an open mic for student poets and musicians, focusing on breaking the silence they feel or that they are fighting to stop. Students, educators, and other school staff work together to host a Spirit Day for Day of Silence, inviting everyone to design t-shirts celebrating their favorite LGBTQ+ activist or character in popular media, including 3 facts about the person’s life and work/role. Educators and students can work together to create examples (lesson plan, announcements, printed or digital guide, etc.) for those who are learning about practicing solidarity in new ways.
  • Host a post-school-day community gathering for educators to share stories from the day and connect with each other, while discussing ideas for creating safer learning spaces.

Plan a Day of Silence activity

  • Host a make-your-own-swag party with tshirts, hats, bandannas, arm bands, earrings, necklaces, or other types of clothing/jewelry and art supplies for students to reflect their reasons for participating in DOS in their own words. Bring profiles of LGBTQ+ activists throughout history, so that each student can choose an activist’s work to represent on their swag.
  • Create prompts for students to reflect on DOS and the issues LGBTQ+ students face, and ask students to write paper notes back and forth to respond to the prompts. Students and educators can exchange methods for folding and decorating notes to increase engagement.
  • College and university professors can embed into a course curriculum, providing grounding in community organizing and advocacy skills as well as a space for students to plan their own actions on Day of Silence. Invite students to write reflections after Day of Silence, and their next steps to continue supporting LGBTQ+ youth.
  • Create protest signs that center around issues LGBTQ+ students face, with particular focus on intersecting identities. This activity works well in classes or GSAs/student club meetings, or even with a group of friends!
  • Design a classroom or club activity where students take time to write a theatrical monologue or conversational scene that reflects the way they feel when they are silenced, or that reflects unfair treatment that is typical in their school or community. If students are comfortable, host a staged reading or live performance of the pieces, publish them anonymously, or print on posters to hang throughout the school. These stories could also be shared on a podcast or other audio or video platforms, and share widely or host listening parties on Day of Silence.
  • In your chapter, classroom, student club, or with friends, create short films reflecting your experiences with Day of Silence, in particular for those who have seen Day of Silence develop and respond to the moment over years.

Coordinate a Day of Silence action

  • Ask all students, educators, and school staff to sign a pledge with specific, concrete actions they will take to make their school safe and affirming for all students. Provide time in all ELA classes for students to spend time brainstorming and synthesizing their top ideas, and ask the student council or any other all-student leadership body / committee to use these lists to draft the final pledge. Alternatively, students use a similar process to draft a pledge and request that the administration put their requests into action. 
  • Invite your group of friends to commit to getting 5 people each to participate in Day of Silence for the first time. Talk together to come up with key talking points and how to answer tough questions or lukewarm responses. 
  • Approach local community and youth organizations as well as other student clubs, and ask them to participate in Day of Silence. Learn about each organization’s staff, participants, mission, values, and overall impact  in order to make a personalized invitation. If appropriate, share examples of actions that each organization can take along with you.
  • Research legislative wins for LGBTQ+ youth and communities across the country, and convene a meeting with youth and adult leaders across the city to plan ways to advocate for similar wins in your city. Launch a petition, pledge, or community organizing initiative to bring together people from across the city.
  • Partner with a local teachers union to lead a training on strategies for working with local school boards to ensure they take specific actions toward making schools safe and affirming for all students.

See all of our Day of Silence materials by clicking here