To follow up “National Day of Silence”, an event held in Junior and High Schools all across the nation, the local Sacramento LGBTQ Youth Task Force is hosting a “Breaking the Silence” rally on the west steps of the California State Capitol (1314 Tenth St., Sacramento, CA 95814) Friday, April 19, 2013 between 5:00pm and 7:30pm.
Originally organized by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in 1996, the “Day of Silence” is a day of action in which “hundreds of thousands of students across the country take some form of a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and peer-abuse in schools. Through their activities students can speak out against harassment and organize for change in their schools and communities”.
The Sacramento LGBTQ Youth Task Force, led by Sacramento City College student, Spencer Douglas, is a grassroots regional youth organization consisting of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied youth, middle school to college level, along with adult partners from the community.
In a statement about the Day of Silence event, Douglas said, “The Day of Silence is symbolically giving up your voice representing those who never had a voice or were afraid to speak out against discrimination and violence. It’s mainly LGBT oriented but I like to imagine that I’m representing everyone that has not had a voice, no matter what background they come from.”
Douglas and his Task Force will celebrate the end of Day of Silence by hosting a “Breaking the Silence” rally for all area students throughout the region. College-age, parents and supporting adults are also invited to attend.
Spencer Douglas will be host speaker as well as several students who will be invited to talk about their experiences during Day of Silence at their schools during an open mike session.
In part, the celebration will be in remembrance of Michael Joseph Berry who was a victim of “bullycide” in 2008 at Mira Loma High School. Special guest speaker will be Michael’s mother, Lisa Ford-Berry, founder of B.R.A.V.E. Society, a local grassroots bullying awareness non-profit organization.
Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), a long-time ally is sponsoring the “Breaking the Silence” event at the Capitol.
In addition, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) authored an Assembly Resolution (ACR 44) to recognize National Day of Silence. The summary of the bill stated, “This measure would declare support for the goals and ideals of the National Day of Silence and would encourage school districts in the state to enforce laws and policies that prohibit name calling, bullying, harassment, and discrimination against all students, teachers, and other school staff regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.”
After the rally, Douglas and his LGBTQ Task Force team will move to the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center where they will host a “Night of Noise” party between 8:00 and 9:30 PM. All area Jr. and Senior High students are invited to attend.