Clay Aiken – Day of Silence is Loud and Clear!

This is  the  Clay Aiken News Network, however, the following blog does not mention his name.  Nevertheless, I do believe that Clay Aiken was aware of the following activity and was interested in the results of the day.  One thing we all know is that Clay Aiken stands up for the rights of all people and is not afraid to speak up for anyone he feels needs support.

On April 16, thousands of university and high school students attended classes without a word. There was no socializing in hallways or the quad, no joking in the cafeteria, no speaking in classrooms. When asked why they remain silent, their only response was a card explaining the national Day of Silence, now in its 14th year.

The Day brings attention to the silence endured by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students faced with regular bullying and harassment in school. The card explains that students’;

“deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by name-calling, bullying and harassment.”

The solution: “Ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices.”

The event has become the largest student-led action addressing school safety for all students, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race. The day began in 1996 at the University of Virginia. Created by an undergraduate student, the event was designed to be visible on campus and to draw in straight allies.

The first Day of Silence was a small success, garnering some positive press attention. The next year the event grew to include 200 UVA students and more than 100 colleges and universities across the US.  Two years later, high schools became involved, and in 2000 the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) became the official sponsor of the event. In 2008 over 8,000 high schools, colleges and universities took part in the action.

Participating students are both gay and straight. Their silence seeks to raise an awareness of the harassment and bullying that many LGBT students face daily from their peers. It is not only LGBT students who are being abused, a fact that GLSEN also wants to bring awareness to this year. In 2009, 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover hanged himself because of peers who harassed him, calling him gay even though he was straight. On the 2009 Day of Silence Carl would have turned 12.

GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said:

“As was the case with Carl, you do not have to identify as gay to be attacked with anti-LGBT language. From their earliest years on the school playground, students learn to use anti-LGBT language as the ultimate weapon to degrade their peers.”

The Day of Silence helps all schools by providing resources to schools on how they can take simple steps to stop harassment within their own walls. Information is provided about adopting an anti-bullying policy, curriculum that addresses LGBT issues and tolerance and training teachers and staff to better deal with bullying when they see it.

Last year, just a few days before the Day of Silence, actor Ashton Kutcher challenged Twitter users to make him the first person to get one million followers. He was trying to beat out CNN each had over 900,000 people following them. Around 1:00am on the Day of Silence Kutcher got to the million mark ahead of CNN. As luck would have it, that Friday was also the day Oprah had planned to do her first tweet.

Wow, tough competition! And to make it even harder, Oprah had Kutcher as a guest on her show and they tweeted together. Darn.

So what happened? Well, by the midday on DOS last April 17th the rankings were, Oprah #1, Kutcher #2 and Day of Silence #3.

By the end of the day, the official Follow Friday ranking was Kutcher #1, Oprah #2 and Day of Silence held strong at #3!

This year, the goal was to be Number 1!  The numbers are not in yet, but it will be interesting to see the results.

Unfortunately, a day like this doesn’t come without its critics. Several family advocacy groups say the Day of Silence is politicizing the classroom and indoctrinating students. One of the most outspoken groups is the American Family Association, who called on parents to pull their children from school on the Day of Silence, apparently in support of bullying and harassment. A coalition of groups support the Day of Silence “walk-out.”  Exodus International, a religious organization that supports “conversion therapy,” has organized the first, counter Day of Truth on the day after the Day of Silence. Their slogan is “Get The Conversation Started” about biblical sexuality.

To find out more about the Day of Silence and how you can help, visit GLSEN’s Day of Silence website.

Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain clayaiken.com.

Comments

  1. I have never heard of a "Day of Silence". It seems that more than ever, this is needed. Lately, I've heard of all of the bullying going on in the schools, and kids taking their own lives, because of it. Teenagers who have reached the point, that they don't want to carry on with their lives. This is so sad, and IT HAS TO STOP.

    Thank you Musicfan for bringing this over. I just don't know why I haven't heard of it before. I live in Canada, but we do get the news, so obviously I just didn't pay attention to it…I MOST CERTAINLY WILL NOW.

  2. Very powerful article. I will not be happy until there is Equal Rights for all period. What a great way to get the youth involved and to one day destroy the bigotry and hate that so many hold.

  3. I am so happy to see that the Day of Silence has grown. Change starts with the young. I applaud the young people in this country for taking a stand and showing their support. Bravo!

  4. Very interesting blog, Musicfan. Thank you for enlightening me once again. I had never heard of this but it is a wonderful idea and I commend all the students who took part.

    These kids are the future and hopefully with actions such as these, the LGBT community will be just part of the crowd and accepted as all have a right to be. I have to quote Clay "It's about damn time!"

  5. I was not aware of "The Day of Silence." Thank you so much. I agree that change must start with the young. I always remember the line from the song in "South Pacific"–'you've got to be carefully taught.' I'd like our children to be carefully taught respect and acceptance rather than prejuce and hate.

  6. I had never heard of "The Day Of Silence" either. Thank you so much for this informative article.
    I am glad that so many young people are taking these actions to make the changes that are so
    needed.

  7. I applaud the young people who took part in the Day of Silence. 🙂 I can't say the same for the parents who kept their children home from school that day.:(

  8. What a wonderful thing these young people are doing with the Day of Silence. Many adults, including those who make the laws, could learn some lessons from these young people!

  9. I did hear about the Day Of Silence. I think I read about it somewhere last year. It is great that these young people would do this ..and it is too bad that we still have people who show bigotry and will not let their children participate in this. I applaud them and hope they do this every year. Clay would be proud of them.

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