The Day of Silence Opposed in Sacramento
JerrySloan printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Apr 07, 2006 at 05:40:56 AM EST
A number of years ago someone came up with the idea of a Day of Silence for Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered/Questioning youth to observe in their respective high schools.

It is being observed this year in thousands of high schools across the country on Wednesday, April 26, 2006, and is garnering more and more opposition from the Religious Right.

Its national sponsors describe it as such:

The Day of Silence®, a project of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN®) in collaboration with the United States Student Association (USSA), is a student-led day of action where those who support making anti-LGBT bullying and harassment unacceptable in schools take part in activities to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment - in effect, the silencing - experienced by LGBT students and their allies

Students are encouraged to observe an entire school day of silence and when addressed to hand the person a card with this message on it

Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights. People who are silent today believe that laws and attitudes should be inclusive of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The day of silence is to draw attention to those who have been silenced by hatred, oppression, and prejudice. Think about the voices you are not hearing. What can you do to end the silence?

A year ago the Sacramento California Unified School District of established a task force to gather information to help it implement SB 537 a law passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger to make schools safe for glbt students.

One of the recommendations the task force came back with was to ask the district to pass a resolution officially recognizing the Day of Silence in the district.

This has sent the local brigades of the Religious Right into hysterics.

Led by the Capitol Resource Institute, (CRI) founded in 1987 as the first public policy/lobbying organization of Focus on the Family, hundreds of rowdy opponents filled the school board auditorium with whoops of "amen" and prolonged applause for each speaker who opposed the resolution despite many admonitions from the chair not to make such outbursts.

CRI, while is no longer affiliated with FOF, has been very active in trying to get school boards in Northern California to implement the teaching of creationism and oppose the state policy of allowing students to leave school to see a doctor without notifying parents.

For an hour prior to the board meeting at least 60 young people stood out in front of the Joe Serna Campus* of the school board on busy 47th Avenue with signs such as `Homosexuality is a Sin," and "No Perversion in Our Schools."

Many of the protesters were Ukrainian immigrants who are members of three large dominionist churches in the area. In the last two years many Ukraines, most of whom are not yet citizens, in an effort by dominionist organizers to help these newcomers understand the working of our democratic republic and make it look as though there were lots of people there, have been bussed down to the Capitol Building to take  part in rallies protesting same sex marriage legislation which was passed by the legislature but vetoed by Gov. Schartzenegger.

The board only heard testimony on the resolution and will not vote on it until its next meeting, which should be just as uproarious.

To counter the Day of Silence, last year the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) came up with the idea of "A Day of Truth that was unofficially observed in about 350 high schools the day after the Day of Silence. This year it should be unofficially observed in many more schools as the idea is promoted through out the evangelical, fundamentalist, and dominionist churches and youth organizations.

Many of the young people at the SUSD meeting were wearing Day of Truth t-shirts.  On the back of the t-shirts is the message, "The Truth Can Not Be Silenced."

Support your local young people in their right to observe the Day of Silence and look for a Day of Truth coming to a high school near you.

* the late Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna was strong supporter of the glbt community

"Antigay Death Threats on My Campus"

This was Pride week at my north-midwest university, and has always been a fun time to welcome spring, inform people about queer issues; encourage goodwill and diversity.

It has also always invited controversy and expressions of intolerance.

But we've never seen anything like this.

This morning, students woke up to violent antigay epithets and death threats chalked all over campus. (Click through to see slideshow. These are only a few of the 40-or-so chalked messages.)

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Apr 07, 2006 at 02:54:23 PM EST

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