Have you ever played the quiet game? It’s typically two minutes of agonizing dullness on a long car ride with the family. Your thoughts claw at your lips to get out as you roll endlessly on down the highway.
Now imagine that same game prolonged throughout the whole day. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? That’s sort of the idea. The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) actually encouraged this very behavior on Friday, April 11.
In order to raise awareness for the silence and oppression that young gay, lesbian, and bisexual people must endure, the GSA at the high school each year takes part in the national Day of Silence. The idea is to put people in the shoes of those who do not have the voice to speak up by having students sign up to be silent for a day. These students who signed up wore a sticker and were given the option of wearing a purple T-shirt to show support.
According to GSA advisor Ms. Mitchell, the event has gone well in past years. At other schools she even implemented completely silent classes where students took notes on PowerPoints and teachers used motion to direct the class.
The concept seems almost counter-intuitive. Being silent to speak out against silence is an odd way of attacking the problem, but it’s one that works. Jimmy Thibodeau, freshman participant, explained that he was skeptical at first “because [he was] typically so outspoken the idea seemed like it would be tough, but [he] figured it was for a good cause so [he] decided to give it a try.”
Many people went into the day with the same attitude. An entire day of being silent seems daunting. However, when you think about the isolated and anxious teens that must endure months, and even years, of apprehension due to their sexual orientation, a single day seems like a small task.
The 2:05 bell certainly came as a relief to many “Day of Silence” participants. Erika Merril, freshman partaker in the event, said that she felt appeased to be able to talk, but that “[Day of Silence] helped [her] reflect on the issue and [she] felt very sorry for those who have to feel that way every day.”
These feelings of seclusion and isolation really helped the students brave enough to wear the sticker understand how difficult it can be for those oppressed individuals. If you are like me, and missed the chance to participate this year, be sure to give it a try next time around. We could all benefit from such an experience that provides compassionate understanding.
By Ben Riley