A Word On Parenting

2024 Day of Silence: An annual event for youth to participate in activism

By Brittany Berger

The National Day of Silence is a student-led protest each April to stop bullying and harassment of LGBTQ+ youth in schools. This year it takes place on April 12th.

The Day of Silence brings awareness and illustrates to schools and colleges how intimidation, name-calling, and general bullying have a silencing effect. Participating students take a day-long vow of silence.

There are many ways to get involved and student organizers are encouraged to register with GLSEN and get permission from their schools. By choosing silence, participants make a profound statement about the importance of solidarity, awareness, and advocacy.

The National Day of Silence, organized by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), has been observed annually since 1996. It began as a student-led initiative to bring attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBTQ+ bullying and harassment in schools. Over the years, it has grown into a widespread movement, with participants ranging from students and educators to allies and activists.

Participating in the National Day of Silence is not just about staying quiet; it’s also about creating space for reflection and dialogue. By staying silent, participants encourage others to consider the impact of their words and actions on those around them. It’s a call to listen, to empathize, and to recognize the humanity and dignity of every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In addition to raising awareness, the National Day of Silence serves as a catalyst for change. It prompts conversations about LGBTQ+ rights, inclusion, and acceptance, both inside and outside the classroom. 

Beyond its immediate impact, the National Day of Silence sends a message of hope and unity. It reminds LGBTQ+ youth that they are not alone, that their voices matter, and that there are allies and advocates standing with them. It empowers individuals to speak up against injustice and to work towards a more inclusive society where everyone can live authentically and without fear of discrimination.

As we observe the National Day of Silence on April 12, 2024, let’s not only reflect on the progress we’ve made but also recommit ourselves to the work that lies ahead. Let’s speak out against bullying and harassment in all its forms and stand in solidarity with LGBTQ+ youth, affirming their right to live and learn in environments that are safe, supportive, and inclusive. We must continue to strive for a future where silence is no longer necessary, where all our youth can live openly, proudly, and without fear.

For more information about registration and ways to participate and to learn more about GLSEN, go to: www.glsen.org/dayofnosilence