On April 20th, students and faculty gathered at 10 a.m. in the morning at the Student Diversity Office to begin the day of silence. Students such as myself, who are a part of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community, faulty and allies, went 5 1/2 hours without speaking to represent the bullying that goes unnoticed in the LGBT community. Attending Cabrini College, I have realized that this day has been done in the past and has had a great turn out. In the past few years it has lost its meaning here and has lost the student’s interest. That is what we are trying to change here and now.
Stephanie Reed, RJ Carroll, Allie Jeter, John Eddings and I gave ourselves a little over two weeks to plan this huge day. We meet back to back throughout the weeks and discussed new ideas how to make this day bigger and better. Going around taking photos of student and faculty members with tape across their mouths was how we portrayed the message we wanted to send to the school and the community, which is that you have to do something to end the silence. With over 50 students and faculty pictures taken, the message was posted around the school with their face, duck tape on their mouths and the words on it, “I’m Silent” made an impact like no other.
This year we also added the close-pin story. The close-pin story was introduced so that students, faulty and staff can tell their story or someone else’s story on a handkerchief to be hung up for everyone to see. This year we had four colors, yellow which stood for the color of surviving bullying, white standing for the color of being an ally, red standing for the color of struggle with yourself or knowing someone who is struggling with being themselves, and black the color of lost and losing someone to bullying, or suicide related to bullying. Doing the clothes-pin story this year sent a very strong message to the people here at Cabrini. It was heartwarming but also painful to see some of the colors but I believe everyone needed to see that not everyone’s life is easy and full of joy, some people are hurt, some are struggling and others have lost very important people in their lives.
It was amazing to see all the people who have survived and also who support the LGBT community, it warms my heart to know that people do care here at Cabrini and will stand up for a great cause. On this Day of Silence, more than 10 students whore shirts over 20 were silent, and all together we stood over 30 strong, with a few students being silent and other joining us as vocal allies throughout the day.
At 4:30 p.m. all who participated in the Day of Silence and also those who wanted joined, gathered together to break the silence of the day. At four o’clock music was played, to go with this year’s theme “follow the music”. With the song “Rise” by The McClain Sisters playing, everyone who heard came and joined us. At 4:30 p.m with all of students who were silent and the vocal allies around it was time to break the silence.
With one loud scream given by each student the silence was broken and our message was heard. After the breaking of the silence everyone was able to share their feelings about this day whether they were silent or a vocal ally. I personally shared my own story, about my life of being bullied through middle and high school and losing some family members because of my life style. My color is yellow with red stripes because I am a survivor.
The point is for everyone to speak up and be heard. Being apart of student diversity, I want this day to be more than a few students and faculty members. Our plan is make sure that next April, the school is covered in red and stories are heard for those we have lost. Our goal is to have their stories and legacy live on.