Some people attract attention by protesting with violence; some participate in a peaceful march. But on Friday, April 20, students at the College at Florham peacefully protested with silence.
Day of Silence is a national youth movement designed to bring attention to the silence that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people may face when bullied or harassed because of their sexual orientation. At the College at Florham, Day of Silence and Breaking the Silence Party were sponsored by FDU’s Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA).
With the event, SAGA sent out goody bags to all participants that included official cards for recipients to explain why they would not be speaking, pins with the phrase, “I Support Day of Silence,” candy and a sticker to cover their mouths.
Most board members and a few participants took the sticker a step further by actually covering their mouths with duct tape.
SAGA is starting to have a known presence on campus. However, with Day of Silence, it highlighted the stereotypes that some people project towards lesbians and gays. It is a misconception that, to be in this club, students must consider themselves a part of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community.
There are straight members who are allies for the LGBT cause. One ally and member of SAGA is Taylor McQueen. To McQueen, Day of Silence is important because not only is it supporting her gay friends but it is a way for people to notice her silence as she remembers others who did not have the ability to speak up for themselves.
When taking part in the event, McQueen noticed that many people focused on her sexual orientation rather than her purpose of being silent.
While explaining this frustration with others, she bluntly expressed what many others in the room also felt: “Focus on the cause rather than thinking about me.”
At the party, not only were there refreshments accompanied by loud laughter from the students who had been silent all day, but there was also a camaraderie while swapping stories of their silent day.
Members discussed some of the ignorant things that stuck out in their minds from the entire day.
Most notable were quotations from bystanders, such as, “The tape must make it hard for them to eat” and “Oh I forgot we are all taking a vow of silence.”
As students gathered at the party and discussed their stories, one could see the pride and excitement in the face of Emily Moratti, vice president of SAGA.