From:"Brenda Barron" bbarron@glsen.org
Date:Thu, 3 Apr 2003 17:49:59 -0500
Organization:GLSEN, Inc

Press Release

For Immediate Distribution

Media Contact:

Chadwick Bovée

cbovee@glsen.org

212-727-0135 ext. 105

Record Impact Expected for Day of Silence 2003 on April 9

In the Midst of Global Conflict, Largest Annual Student-Led

Safe Schools Event Will Have Unprecedented Community Involvement in 2003

New York April 2, 2003 With one week to go until Day of Silence 2003, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, today announced far-reaching and multifaceted support for this annual event from high school cafeterias to the floor of the U.S. Congress ensuring that this year s day will be recognized in ways not dreamed of just a few years ago.

The Day of Silence, a project of GLSEN, is a day on which students, faculty and staff take a vow of silence to protest the discrimination and harassment that can silence lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in schools. Students continue to lead the way in organizing observances at middle and high schools and on college and university campuses. This year, communities and officials at all levels of government are joining with these student leaders through official proclamations and community-wide Breaking the Silence events.

Though the country s attention is currently focused on international conflict, we must not lose sight of other crucial issues that cry out for our attention here at home, said GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings. We are tremendously encouraged that even in the current climate, students, educators, parents, and community leaders across the country are coming together to participate in this important day of action and work for safe schools for all.

The Day of Silence was started by students in 1996 and was observed in 2002 by more than 150,000 students in nearly 2,000 schools who registered with GLSEN. In many communities, Breaking the Silence events bring participants together at the end of the day to celebrate and rally.

For the second year in a row, U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) has introduced a resolution (H.CON.RES.86) calling on Congress to recognize the efforts of students in organizing the Day of Silence. Also for the second year, California Governor Gray Davis will officially recognize the Day of Silence with a proclamation. The Massachusetts State Senate, Mayor Eddie Perez of Hartford, CT, and the City Council of Madison, WI, have joined Engel and Davis in issuing proclamations supporting the goals of the day. Additionally, Michigan officials including State Senators Hansen Clarke (D-1st District) and Martha G. Scott (D-2nd District) will speak at a Breaking the Silence rally in Detroit.

The Detroit rally was organized by a coalition of community-based organizations and individual leaders from Detroit and neighboring Highland Park. It is one of many local events nationwide:

Breaking the Silence events are also planned in Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Dallas, TX; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Hartford, CT; Juneau, AK; Kalamazoo, MI; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; New York City, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; Richmond, VA; Sacramento, CA; Topeka, KS; and Washington, DC, among many other locations. A full list and additional information can be found at http://www.dayofsilence.org.

GLSEN s 2001 National School Climate Survey found that 4 out of 5 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. The Day of Silence is one way for students, educators and their allies to take action against anti-LGBT bullying, harassment, and name-calling in schools.

About GLSEN

GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on creating safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on our educator resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit http://www.glsen.org.

Brenda Barron
State Campaign Coordinator, GLSEN
1012 14th St NW, Suite 1105
Washington, DC 20005
bbarron@glsen.org
http://www.glsen.org
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JOIN US in Washington, DC September 18-21st
for GLSEN's Annual Conference Teaching Respect for All
and GLSEN's first ever Federal Lobby Day

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Last updated 4/3/2003 by Jean Richter, richter@eecs.Berkeley.EDU