LGBTQIA+ community takes vow of silence

National Day of Silence protests discrimination


At the PRISMA meeting on April 20, freshmen Salem, Aiden White-Lenard, Alexander, and Raine Vanderheyden listen to club sponsor Ivy Hartman talk about the National Day of Silence. Students and staff were invited to take a vow of silence on April 22.

Taya Abraham, Feature Editor

The National Day of Silence is a student-led demonstration where LGBTQIA+ students and allies around the country take a vow of silence on April 22. 

The observation began in the mid 90’s by two college students and has, since then, spread around the world. Those participating go through the school day without speaking to protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQIA+ people in schools. Junior Mellany Way-Ziebol, who is a member of PRISMA, a school club for those in the LGBTQIA+ community, and will be taking the vow of silence, said it is also a time to remember the harsh past of the community. 

“This day is important because it gives students a chance to protest harassment and bullying that is commonly shown to LGBTQ+ students. It’s important to me because I strongly believe in the right to protest and the moral obligation to fight for what I believe is right,” Way-Ziebol said. “I will be participating because I have the chance. There were many queer people that came before me who were not given the simple luxury of being able to legally hold their partner’s hand in public. I encourage fellow classmates and friends to look into the day and the significance behind it, even if they chose not to participate.” 

On the morning of April 22, PRISMA had an information table in the commons to inform students and staff about the day. Both students and staff were allowed to participate in the vow of silence if they chose to. To show that they were participating, PRISMA gave out buttons and stickers for participants to wear. Principal Dr. Emily McCown said that if a teacher chose to participate, they would most likely hold independent work within their classroom for the day. 

“[The teacher] would probably have a lot of independent work. They probably have some directions through Canvas or through a PowerPoint, something that they could direct students through visuals, and then it’d be a series of things that kids could do independently,” McCown said. 

While people who are not part of the LGBTQIA+ community are allowed to participate, club sponsor Ivy Hartman said there are other ways for allies to get involved, including standing up against hatred toward the community. 

“What I would encourage people who are supporting the LGBTQIA+ community is to wear a rainbow ribbon or you can say something [like], ‘I’m an ally,’ and what can really help is if you observe a classmate or friend or teacher who may be [participating] in the Day of Silence, maybe you become their voice in a sense,” Hartman said. “We don’t always want to assume that they need our help, but it could be the other part of this [where] there [is] slander in the hallways, and we know that students can be outwardly divisive to the LGBTQ+ community through their words, through their actions on social media, in-person in the hallway, classrooms, and it’s really helpful when allies stand up and don’t tolerate hatred by using your voice.”