April 24th, 2015, Helix Charter’s classrooms are more quiet than usual, students sporting the yellow flyer that says, “Day of Silence.”
People of the LGBT community have found a way to stand up to the bullying, harassment, and name-calling, that keeps them from revealing their true selves, or even sending them into emotional spirals, sometimes effectively silencing their voices when they commit suicide.
The Day of Silence or DoS is a day in which people can show their support for the different people, emphasizing in LGBT people who are silenced because they are different. People who participate stay quiet for the whole day, representing the people who have no voices, until a “breaking the silence ceremony” happens.
Everett Patterson, a sophomore who participated in the DoS, said, “These people feel like they have to keep quiet because they don’t feel safe saying anything, like there isn’t anyone they can talk to.”
Some rooms have signs up in the windows saying, “Safe Space” notifying the students that if they ever feel like they aren’t safe, are being harassed or bullied for being different, then they can go inside of that room and talk to the teacher or admin and trust them.
Patterson said that this DoS is important to him in order to show LGBT individuals, “hey, you don’t have to do this alone.”
Patterson didn’t do the DoS just to not talk for a whole school day, but rather he promotes the lesson behind the movement, “I know what it’s like to feel that you have to stay quiet to protect yourself.”
He wants any student that has been silenced for being themselves to know that, “I can promise that you won’t always have to be silent, and if you need someone to talk to, then talk to me.”
The voices that were not heard that day built awareness for the other students who noticed their friends staying quiet and not acting like their usual selves.
Mikayla Gomez, a senior who participated, said, “it made me realize how many people we overlook, thinking they are just shy and quiet, when in reality we don’t know their real story of why they are silent.
Gomez said that although she had trouble keeping quiet because her friends would talk to her and she’d immediately want to respond, “I kept reminding myself that I stayed quiet to support my friends and family.”
Rilyn Gardener, a sophomore, said that she has been bullied and “it leaves lasting scars,” so participating in this day was a way for her to stand up.
Gardener gives some advice for someone who faces their problems silently, “You are not alone! There are so many people to turn to, so never give up. Suicide is not the answer.”
Participants learned the value of speaking up by not speaking out.