Students use silence to make a stand for gay rights

Vinson Pressley/Staff Writer

Students will use the power of silence to advance a national movement.

“It’s an event that speaks out loud even though no one is speaking at all,” said Blanca Jara, sophomore chemistry major.

The Day of Silence will be happening on April 18 at Panther Square on the Biscayne Bay Campus between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will also be a Breaking the Silence event from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Wolfe University Center, room 155. Both events were coordinated by the Multicultural Programs and Services.

A table will be set up in Panther Square and students will be given information about the movement and will be given “speaking cards” so students will be able to explain why they are not speaking and spread awareness about the cause.

The Breaking the Silence event will allow students to share and discuss their experience when they participated in the Day of Silence.

The National Day of Silence is a national youth movement that protests the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies and spreads awareness about the harassment and bullying that members of the LGBT community go through.

According to Gisela P. Vega, associate director of MPAS and LGBTQA Initiatives, the movement started in high schools and branched out to colleges and other schools in the country. This year marks the University’s 10- year anniversary of participating in the National Day of Silence.

The first Day of Silence was in spring 2003.

Some students agree that silence is an effective method of conveying the message of this movement.

“By being silent, people will [feel the] silence and hopefully people will realize they’re supposed to speak out,” Jara said.

“My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice and discrimination,” was the message written on the speaking cards given out last year at the Day of Service event and aligns with Jara’s sentiment.

Sofia Galiano, a sophomore journalism major, is a supporter of the movement but not a fan of how the message of the movement is conveyed.

“I feel like you can go about it a different way,” Galiano said. She said she would rather raise awareness by being vocal and talking about the issue or hosting events instead of choosing silence as a method of conveying the message.

Students may have different opinions on how the message is conveyed but support for the cause itself is alive and well.

Priscilla Torres said events help make more people aware about the cause and that social media would be a great way to spread the message of the Day of Silence.

“I do want to show my support for LGBT people,” Torres said.