Esther silently waved at us on her way to class. “Hi Esther,” we greeted back. She solemnly laid her index finger over her lips. Later that day, she explained to us, “It’s so hard to be quiet for the whole day!” she spoke as she tossed her backpack on to the floor, “But I know that it is only a glimpse of what LGBTQ+ people feel every single day.”
The Day of Silence took place on April 21, 2017, where students remained silent during school hours to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Students were required to dress in all black with a pop of color, with rainbow badges shining proudly on their chests. Marahyah “Richie” Richardson’19, a second-time participant in the Day of Silence, expressed to the Log, “While I find that the Day of Silence is more important for allies of the LGBT+ community because it helps them understand the struggles us LGBT+ face, I still find participation very important because it represents how LGBT+ individuals aren’t heard in our modern society and the struggle of that lack of communication. I find that the event is useful given that it gets people to spend a moment talking about LGBT+ issues.” Although finding keeping quiet for the day hard, Lily Verna’19 felt excited to have participated, “It was fun hearing everyone’s reasons for being silent at the end, and seeing all the amazing support people had for each other.”
The history of the Day of Silence dates back to 1996, where a then-student Maria organized it in the University of Virginia. The event then expanded into a national movement. The LC student group, SAFE, which was also the predecessor of Spectrum, brought the event to campus in the 2000s. Loomis students and faculty have been mostly very supportive, according to Betsy Conger, the faculty advisor of Spectrum, “We’ve had varying numbers of people participating [the most was about 110 people one year!] but it always seems to be a really powerful day for the students who participate and for others who learn from their participation. Although we had a small group participate this year, we felt that it went well and that important education and awareness happened!”
The Day of Silence ended, but raising people’s awareness towards the LGBTQ+ issues just commenced. Students will bring what they’ve learned from the Day of Silence further into their Loomis career to make sure that LGBTQ+ issues are heard in their community. No doubt, they will make a difference.