Students vow silence to give voice to gay victims

Instead of chalking its views, one group on campus will remain silent April 18 to promote awareness of the eleventh annual “Day of Silence.”

Common Ground will get involved by setting up a booth in the University Center and passing out fliers and business cards, which will explain why they are silent.

According to the its Web site, the Day of Silence is the largest student-led organization action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. This day gives thousands of students from around the country an opportunity to unite in a visible silence to create real change in local schools.

“There was a survey in 2005 that said four out of five (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) people are abused or verbally abused in school,” said Katie Nelson, co-president of Common Ground. “To me, (Common Ground’s) goal is to get it out that this is really happening.”

Nelson said the organization is teaming up with Students for Choice on the Day of Silence.

Alex Kindell, president of Students for Choice, is putting a black tarp over a sign in the pro-choice display, which is located in the grassy area between the UC and Fine Arts Building.

“I didn’t come out till I was in college and I saw people get made fun of for being perceived as gay,” Nelson said. “This is my way for me to stand up for the kids made fun of.”

According to Nelson, most professors understand about the Day of Silence, and have dealt with hardly any opposition.

Nelson said a on campus drag show is going to be at 8 p.m. April 18 on the first floor of the UC Cafeteria, during which the group will ultimately break its silence.

“It makes it awesome because not only do we get to stand up for these kids but we get to flame a little,” Nelson said.