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The Day of Silence

By Alexis Bernthal in Student News - featured

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Fairview High School recently exhibited a day of silence.

The Day of Silence is a non-violent protest that began with students at the University of Virginia in 1996. The main idea behind holding a day of silence is to bring awareness to everyone that there are so many voices and ideas that haven’t been heard because of the restraints involved with being gay, straight, or anything else.

“We have about 25 students in the GSA here at Fairview and all of them have been involved in planning, organizing and helping to run the Day of Silence here at FHS each year,” said Courtney Nicholson-Paine, language arts teacher and sponsor of the GSA.

During the day of silence, students were welcome to stay silent all day to bring awareness to themselves and everyone else around them. Some people stayed quite all day because they care so much about the wellbeing of LGBTQ rights.

“The students were really excited to see that so many of their classmates, and even their teachers, wore buttons or stickers to identify themselves as “vocal allies” who support their choice to be silent on this day,” said. Nicolson-Paine.

She also said that using the pronoun of a individual's wishes (even when anticipated differently), can mean a lot to them.

Although days of silence are known throughout schools throughout the United States, Fairview High school’s GSA club worked hard to get the news out that there was going to be a day of silence. The GSA used lollipops to spread the word.

“This year we decided to sell rainbow unicorn lollipops in addition to our traditional rainbow bracelets and of course the free buttons and pins. Everyone loves a lollipop!” said Nicolson.

The celebration portrayed through the day of silence is relevant to every student no matter how they self identify.

“We are lucky to be here in Boulder where things are relatively groovy, but any student will tell you that they still hear plenty of homophobic slurs and jokes in the halls here,” Nicolson said.

To solve the problem of homophobic slurs and jokes in the hallways, Nicolson suggested that if students hear someone using hateful language, even if it’s a joke, students or peers should speak up and say something. Nicolson said you don’t have to make a big deal out of it, but that type of language can really hurt some people and staying as far as possible from hurtful words can mean a lot to tons of students around Fairview.

The event takes place every year in April, and Fairview has participated for at least the last 15 years. Continuing the tradition of the day of silence is a substantial way to bring awareness to the growing importance of being able to have a confident voice when talking about LGBTQ rights.

“High school is a difficult time for all kids, but it tends to be even tougher for queer kids,” said Nicolson. “We can all use a friend, and an ally, and that’s what this day is about.”

 

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