Students take vow of silence for the ‘bullied’ and ‘oppressed’

Photo courtesy of FIU Flickr

By: Imogen Francis/Staff Writer


To raise awareness of the issues and violence the LGBTQ community face on a daily basis, the University is joining thousands of colleges and universities for a Day of Silence.

Modesto Maidique Campus kicks off Pride week with their Day of Silence event on Monday, April 15. The Biscayne Bay Campus will have its Day of Silence event on Wednesday, April 17.

The events are organized by LGBTQA Initiatives that aim to educate the University’s student body about LGBTQ issues while also showing the community that they are supported at the University, said Justin Santoli, a graduate student at FIU’s LGBTQA Initiatives program and coordinator of BBC’s Day of Silence.

“We ask students to take a vow of silence for the day, or as long as they can throughout the day, in order to recognize those voices who have been silenced because of anti-LGBTQA bullying, harassment and violence,” said Santoli.

During the event, multiple on-campus organizations will be tabling and offering their resources to attendees. The groups include CAPS, Panthers for Recovery, The Women’s Center and Pride Alliance, according to Carter Casio, the administrative coordinator and internal relations at LGBTQA Initiatives and MMC Day of Silence coordinator.

“We want to break the silence around people being bullied and oppressed specifically in the community by giving people the resources and giving people an outlet to reach out for help,” said Casio.

LGBTQA Initiatives will be giving out free pizza and doing giveaways. This year’s giveaways include pens as well as cards to hand out to people to explain why you may be taking a vow of silence.

The Day of Silence began in 1996 when a group of University of Virginia students created the non-violent protest for a class assignment. The following year the organizers took the initiative to over 100 colleges and universities and grew it from there. In 2001 GLSEN, an LGBTQ advocacy organization became the official sponsor of the event and made it a nationwide initiative, according to GLSEN’s website.

Santoli said The Day of Silence is also an opportunity to shine a light on the large LGBTQ homeless population here in Miami as well as the violence people may suffer after coming out to friends and family.

“We hope students understand that this is a really big issue and our students really need support and that they deserve to exist freely without threats of violence,” he said.

The Day of Silence events takes place from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. on Mon. 15 in the Graham Center Pit and Wed. 17 in Panther Square.

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