Weeks after the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding marriage equality and DOMA, the LGBTQ+ community fights hate with Day of Silence.
The 2013 National Day of Silence was held April 19.
The Delta College Delta Pride Club participated with a silent vigil on campus, with “selfies” that include a personal statement advocating for change. Personally, I wore white and black and was silent for most of the day.
I was not silent as a follower of the movement, but in remembrance that the world has a long way to go to become a better place.
I dedicate my vigil every year to Matthew Shepard, a student murdered by two homophobic men in Laramie, Wyoming.
Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson offered Shephard a ride home on an October night in 1998.
That ride would be Shephard’s last. The 21-year-old college student was found beaten, half dead and tied to a fence on the outskirts of town, he died a few days later. Since his death his parents Dennis and Judy Shepard founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
The foundation is non-profit organization that vows to “replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance via outreach education and advocacy” wanting to persuade people to think and behave differently in regards to the importance and value of diversity.
The foundation has multiple ways to promote the cause with a speaking bureau, a youth-outreach program called “Matthew’s Place,” the Laramie Project Support, education resources and a “SmallBear Big Dreams” educational program.
Besides just the foundation there are other organizations to help combat hate-based violence. One organization helping LGBTQ+ teens feel they are not alone is the Trevor Project. Founded in 1998 by
James Lecense, Peggy Rajski and Randy Stone in regards to their coming of age movie about a 13-year-old boy named Trevor who was teased by the children at school for having a crush on the most popular boy in school. The filmmakers noticed there was no crisis or suicide prevention line for other LGBTQ+ youth, so they opened one.
The Trevor Project has combined forces with the Human Rights Campaign.
As America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality the Human Rights Campaign works by inspiring and engaging all Americans to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Recently they spurred a social media campaign of a pink equal sign on a red background, a variation of their yellow equality sign on a blue background, to urge Americans to support the fight for marriage equality in regards to the supreme court hearing the appeal of California Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act.
Together all of these organizations are working to change the way American society looks at the LGBTQ+ community one event, campaign and person at a time.
The Day of Silence asks one question: What are you going to do to end the silence?
Personally I advocate by speaking out, being active in the LGBTQ+ community and writing a blog, oshenukharr.wordpress.com.