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Day of silence, day of action

By Katie Ly

The annual day of action in which students can participate by taking a vow of silence to highlight the effects of harassment and bullying on LGBTQ+ students in schools is this Friday, April 21.

Held by Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Day of Silence is a youth-led national event that shines light on the silenced voices of the LGBTQ+ individuals who have experienced bullying, violence, and harassment.

As this event holds a bold and meaningful purpose, I encourage all students at Alameda High to participate to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community.

To participate, a student must stay silent during the periods and break before lunch. They can also receive a Day of Silence sticker for signing a supportive pledge created by the school’s Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA).

The pledge will serve as a physical representation of the student body’s promise to speak up for those who may or may not be afraid to stand up for themselves due to LGBTQ+ discrimination. Both students and staff are encouraged to participate in the pledge.

Not every school has a pledge for Day of Silence since this event is organized in different ways in schools across the nation. For Alameda High, GSA will be holding an event at lunch to gather students together to sign the pledge and “break” the silence with music, loud noise, and the use of megaphones.

Although the primary point of the day of action is to stay silent, I believe that “breaking” the silence is the most important aspect of the event.

“Breaking” the silence resembles one’s ability to advocate for their ideas and beliefs and to stand up for not only their peers, but also themselves. It shows how we can overlook silence and use our voices to empower others and ourselves and also, overcome the struggles we may face in our own lives.

Through my eyes, I see Day of Silence as a day to speak up, not a day to stay silent. Change will not happen through the absence of our voices; it will happen through vocal activism. Students and teachers can start by “breaking” the silence with GSA on April 21.

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The Oak Leaf, a product of the journalism class, is a vehicle of student expression and a public forum for the Alameda High School community.