Thursday, April 27, 2006

Breaking the Silence

Yesterday, you may have noticed that the bright, outspoken student in your class was strangely silent. You may have bumped into somebody, only to have them put their head down and hurry away. Or, you may have passed a friend on the street and received only a slight nod, instead of the usual, cordial ‘hello.’ Why all the odd behavior? you may have asked yourself.

Yesterday marked the tenth annual National Day of Silence. Nationwide, a half million middle school, high school and college students took a vow of silence to protest the silence imposed upon gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals and their allies. Their intentional silence echoed the silence caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination toward these individuals. “Think about the voices you’re not hearing today,” was their resounding message.

In Madison, the day concluded with a rally at the State Capitol. In the late afternoon, a crowd of LGBT students and their allies gathered at Library Mall, and they marched together, in silence, down State Street toward the Capitol:

State Street March

Students marching down State Street.

Arriving at Capitol

Arriving at the Capitol.

The rally called on students to break the silence – to speak out and make their voices heard on LGBT issues, particularly in Wisconsin, with the upcoming vote to ban marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples. For some time, Students for Equality has been organizing on campus to educate students, faculty and staff on the proposal, while fostering a campus community that is inclusive and free of discrimination. This blog is our way of breaking the silence, of making sure that our voices are heard.

In the upcoming days, weeks and months, we hope to use this blog to report on the activities of our group, to spread our message, and to provide a forum where the voices of LGBT individuals and their allies can be heard. Please pardon our dust as we get things off the ground, and check back often for updates!

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