Today is April 20, but in my eyes, it is not 4/20 AKA National Weed Day. April 20 is the anniversary of many important things, but this year, it is the Day of Silence, designated as such by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence for one day in order to bring attention to the name-calling and harassment suffered by those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Chances are, we have all been bullied before, for one reason or other. Maybe it’s because of our sexuality. Because we dress a certain way, or talk a certain way, or walk a certain way. The one thing all human beings have in common is the need to be accepted, to be loved for who we are. That is what the Day of Silence hopes to accomplish: an eventual end to bullying and a beginning of a more accepting student culture.
I remember that when I was in eighth grade, my class participated in the Day of Silence. Even though I was a naturally quiet kid, it was still difficult to go an entire day without speaking, only writing things down on index cards or on a piece of paper. I learned that there is a beauty in silence that allows us to contemplate things we ordinarily would not think about, or to act in ways we ordinarily would not. If we are not gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, we tend to not think about the difficulties these students may face at school.
Today is a day to contemplate the struggles of others, and to think about what we can do to be caring and supportive.
“Be kind to everyone, because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato