I wrote last week about Safe Schools: National Day of Silence April 25th I would like to share a little more about the day and the rally I attended at the Texas State Capital to break the silence.
Young people across America went to school and did not speak on National Day of Silence to bring attention to the silence that is heard from teachers, parents, school administrations, elected officials, and students about the ongoing problem of bullying in our schools.
Crossposted @Cross posted @ Daily Kos, Texas Kaos, Doing My Part For The Left
The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. This year’s event will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a California 8th-grader who was shot and killed Feb. 12 by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. Hundreds of thousands of students will come together on April 25 to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.
At 4:30 pm students from several Austin high schools, their friends and allies started arriving at the south steps of the capital to break the Silence. The featured speakers from such groups as TACT(Transgender Advocates of Central Texas), PFLAG(Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays), Equality Texas, and many other groups were there to show their support for the brave teenagers.
The most heart moving moment was when a young transgender woman spoke about how we all say “Not In My Town” when we hear of violence and evil.
She was on her way to work on the morning of February 12th when she heard a news story of a 8th grader being killed in California. As time went by the story was elaborated on and it turned out Lawrence King had been shot and killed by a fellow classmate in class for being gay. The most shocking part for this young lady was that the killing happened in her hometown. She had always been able to say ” Not in my town” but now it had happened in her town. The time for silence was over and she would never be able to say “Not In My Town” until we could say “Not In Any Town”.
Many of the students also told of their day in school and what type of reception they received from their classmates and teachers. There were stories of taunts and jeers as well as support and cheers. The most impressive thing was that each of the students, no matter their experience, said they would continue to observe the National Day of Silence as well as speak out loudly for change the other 364 days of the year.
For an older gay male standing listening to these brave young people, it was one of the most heart warming experiences I have ever had. Here are young people doing what could never have been done back when I was 15. Many of the students could not speak or be on camera as they are not out to parents but it was not only GLBT students but also their straight allies who were there supporting them.
After talking several of the teenagers into talking at the open mike, I also shared some of my thoughts with the audience.
I stand here today in awe of the young people for their bravery in speaking out against bullying and harassment. I, also, appreciate all the allies I see supporting change and trying to make this a better world for all Americans.
I have been involved in Civil Rights since I was 8 years old and will be 50 in November. I cam out at the age of 15 in a small town in North Carolina and was beaten and nearly killed 3 times and could not go to the police as they probably would have finished the job. This was before there was any such thing as a hate crime.
I remember when I first started working for Equal Rights for the Community. It was Gay Rights then Gay & Lesbian Rights then Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Rights then Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Rights then Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Rights and now Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Androgynous Rights. Before long we will add so many letter we will have the whole alphabet and maybe then we will stop discrimination.
I remember Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have a Dream”
He said “I have a dream… little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
I have a dream also. I dream that one day young men and women will be able to hold hands and look into the eyes of the person they love and no once care who that person is. We have come a long way but we have a long way to go but we will get there.
The way we make the biggest difference is speaking out and also changing the leadership in this building behind me. We have to elect leaders who understand and care about all of their constituents and not just the status quo. We have many great allies in the Texas Legislature but while there is a Republican majority we will always be treated as an outcast minority. If you are not registered to vote, talk with me. afterwards