For Immediate Distribution
For Immediate Distribution
212-727-0135 ext. 105
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:
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.
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.
State Campaign Coordinator, GLSEN
1012 14th St NW, Suite 1105
Washington, DC 20005
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, [email protected]