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April 20, 2012

Today marks the 17th annual Day of Silence. We decided to take a look back at this event with such a rich history of student organizing, advocacy, and activism. Take a look at this video retrospective of Day of Silence then and now. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"46","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"254","width":"500","style":""}}]] Have you participated in Day of Silence in years past? Share some of your memories in the comments below!

April 19, 2012

Goooood morning! The Day of Silence is finally here and we're up bright and early with you to make this year a success! This year, students in every state, the District of Columbia, and nearly 60 countries are participating in events at their school for the Day of Silence! Join us in the action! We invite you to follow our blog – blog.glsen.org – as we post student stories and messages from supporters throughout the day. Don't forget to join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #DayOfSilence and following @glsen! If you encounter any resistance to your participation in Day of Silence, go to http://dayofsilence.org/legalhelp/ to report it. If you're unsure about whether or not you'll participate in Day of Silence today, we invite you to participate in whatever way feels right for you: not talking at all, remaining silent for a portion of a day, or using your voice to raise awareness of the bullying & harassment LGBT students face. If you haven't already, please take a moment to register your participation so we can count you in our numbers! Let's make this year the biggest year yet! Together, we’ll keep working until that’s a reality!

April 13, 2012

Loan T is a junior in high school and a GLSEN Student Ambassador. Check out this video he created for Day of Silence. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"46","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"339","width":"500","style":""}}]] PS Are you participating in Day of Silence this year? Don't forget to register your participation

April 12, 2012

This post is by GLSEN Student Ambassador Amelia I will never forget the day when someone at school ran by me and yelled an anti-gay slur. I was numb, unable to comprehend what was said. My mind flirted with the idea that somehow, it was my fault, that by being proud of who I am, I deserved this. For the rest of the day, I didn't say a single word to anyone. I was too ashamed at how guilty I felt. When I finally told a friend a week later, she was shocked not only by the cruel words I'd heard, but also by how long I'd stayed silent. I told her that somehow, I felt like I’d brought those words on myself. If I had done something differently, that person wouldn't have yelled that anti-gay slur. This story may seem like it’s crafted simply to fit with Day of Silence, but it’s not. It's a true story of the shame one feels after hearing insults thrown at them, and the silence that follows. This experience is why I’m choosing to participate in Day of Silence, not just because I want to make a point that this bullying needs to stop, but also so I can stand with other victims of anti-LGBT name-calling. I hope you will stand with me. If you'd like to help GLSEN support students like Amelia through Day of Silence and other programs, you can make a tax-deductible donation today.

April 10, 2012

Jeremy B is a GLSEN Student Ambassador from North Dakota who participated in our Safe School's Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC just a few weeks ago. He's also helping to organize Day of Silence activities at his high school and made this short video to "tell" you about it. Take a look! [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"46","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"339","width":"500","style":""}}]] PS Are you participating in Day of Silence this year? Make sure to register your participation... we want to connect with all of you fabulous  organizers!

April 09, 2012

This post is written by Thomas N, a GLSEN Student Ambassador It’s that time of year again, that’s right, the Day of Silence is just around the corner. What does this mean exactly? It means it’s time for you to bring some swag to your school; it’s time to get creative and pull out those shirt designs, accessories, glitter- you name it. The opportunities you can take with this event are endless. Being a male cheerleader, I used to face a lot of bullying and harassment throughout my community, in and outside of school. You know the old saying, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That’s a lie. Words can do so much damage to a person. I know from personal experience that the bullying I faced caused me to silence myself because I was scared of what could happen if I showed my true colors.

I see the Day of Silence as not just an event, but also a day of opportunities; a day to create a change in the community by standing side by side and taking a vow of silence.

The Day of Silence has got to be one of my favorite times of the year because of the endless opportunities that come with it. For me, I see it as a holiday and that’s why I try to get everyone at my school involved. A successful event in the past I’m doing again this year is a Day of Silence art expression contest, where students submit original pieces of art that symbolize the silencing effects bullying and harassment have on LGBT student on a daily basis. Another way to engage a large number of students is to ask participants to wear necklaces with Day of Silence signs attached or order Day of Silence wristbands so teachers know who is participating. It’s a fun, easy and clear way to remind students to stay silent! I truly love the Day of Silence and believe every school should host the event. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to register your participation at the DayofSilence.org and get some tips on how to get it organized at your school! Thomas, N. Renton, WA GLSEN Student Ambassador

April 06, 2012

As a new staff member I have had the pleasure of experiencing the grunt work that goes into making Day of Silence possible. Part of this work includes answering hundreds of participant inquiries as to why we use silence on this day of action. We have a standard answer to this question: “taking a vow of silence helps to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.” Standard answers are often not enough to satisfy participant curiosity. Part of the reason why our constituents take part in the Day of Silence is that this day is an empowering moment in what can sometimes feel like an oppressive society. To honor our participants experience I thought that sharing a more personal answer to the inquiry of why we commemorate this day with silence would be appropriate. On a personal level, I believe that silence is a gesture of respect.  My silence is an expression of my admiration for every LGBT person who has ever engaged in organizing which has led to the rights I have today. If we think broadly, moments of silence commemorate important events, history and influential individuals. This year’s Day of Silence, we will be joined by youth, allies, school administrators, staff, chapter leaders, donors and supporters who recognize that observing a vow of silence in honor of LGBT events, history and individuals is essential in making strides toward creating safe schools for students and moreover a safe society for all.

April 05, 2012

Students from across the country and the world will be joining forces on April 20, 2012 for the 26th annual Day of Silence. What started as an activity by a few dedicated college students in 1996, this day has become the largest student-led day of action in the nation! Here at the GLSEN national office we are constantly encouraged by the dialogue of countless students on Facebook and Twitter. We know though, each year it’s not enough to simply tweet the silence. We need to show our solidarity in person, in our communities, with other student organizers on the Day of Silence. Together as one, we can make change happen & create safe schools for all students. Therefore, if you haven’t done so already, please take 2 minutes right now to register on our Day of Silence site!

The Day of Silence is almost here! Let’s make this one the biggest one yet!

April 03, 2012

Last week wrapped up GLSEN’s Annual Safe Schools Advocacy Summit (SSAS).  On Saturday March 24th, a group of 40 GLSEN students, educators and staff traveled to Washington D.C. — while there, they participated in a variety of leadership workshops, teambuilding exercises and met with officials from more than 100 Congressional offices representing 32 states.

Jeremy Brown, a high school freshman from Binford, North Dakota who was among the students at SSAS eloquently describes his experience in this special message to GLSEN supporters.

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We compiled some photos from the event over here. SSAS is possible each year because of the generous support--in all sizes--of supporters like you. Will you make a donation to GLSEN to help support our work?

March 22, 2012

Later this week, I will again have the privilege of traveling with GLSEN student leaders to Washington D.C. for our annual Safe Schools Advocacy Summit (SSAS). At SSAS, students learn about the legislative process, current legislative initiatives and participate in a variety of team building exercises and leadership workshops.

But most importantly, they have the opportunity to meet with elected officials and discuss the vital need for strong safe schools legislation — like the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA).

Join me and support these brave students today!

Daryl, Tonei, and Rep Young at SSASI have seen firsthand the powerful difference these meetings can make — how a student’s story can move a vote from the no column to the yes. Here is what I witnessed in the office of Representative Don Young (R-AK).

In 2008, I accompanied Tonei Glavinic, a student from Anchorage, Alaska, to a meeting with Rep. Young, a conservative Congressman from a conservative state. Tonei talked about what school was like, about being bullied and how most students are not fortunate enough to attend a school where LGBT youth are accepted. Tonei spoke with such intensity and conviction that you could hear a pin drop in the room.

Tonei then asked Rep. Young for his vote on SSIA. Young took a long pause, leaned back in his chair (he would later tell us he was thinking back to when he was bullied in school) and then spoke a resounding Yes!  And to this day, Rep. Young remains a proud Republican co-sponsor of SSIA.

It is because of the support of donors to GLSEN that stories like Tonei’s are even possible.

The time I spent with Tonei that day reaffirmed my belief that students can — and do — create powerful change in their own lives if given the opportunity.

With your support today, we can continue to give students the chance to make that impact and make schools safer and more secure for all students.

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