Student activists take initiative in organizing Day of Silence at Hiawatha College Prep and Hiawatha Collegiate High School

April 2017 April 20th and 21st, Hiawatha scholars led our campuses in a Day of Silence, an annual day of action centered on spreading awareness about the effects of bullying and harassment of LGBTQIA students. To raise awareness, students and educators across the nation took

Day Of Silencea vow of silence for the entire day to represent the silencing of LGBTQIA students.

The Day of Silence, founded in 1996, has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

This year, student activists at Hiawatha College Prep and Hiawatha Collegiate High School’s Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSA) took the lead in organizing Day of Silence at their campuses. Eighty students took the vow of silence at HCHS and over half the student population wore stickers in solidarity. Over 200 HCP students also took a vow of silence for the day to represent the silencing of LGBTQIA students.

Two leaders of these efforts were Bridgette an eighth-grade student that prefers to be known as Jack and Jose an eighth-grade student that prefers to be known as Josie. Check out the interview below to learn about what motivates them to act and engage all of us in creating awareness about the LGBTQ+ communities and some of their messages to friends, family, and Hiawatha staff and teachers.

Brigette : Prefers Jack – 8th grade

Why did you decide to become a part of GSA?

I decided to become a part of the GSA because I am part of the LGBTQ+ community and I have friends who are also a part of this community and I wanted to help them and myself be comfortable around others.

What drives you to create awareness about issues impacting the LGBTQIA communities?

What drives me to create awareness about these issues is that not only do they impact me but they impact those around me.

What are some messages you believe are important for teachers, staff, fellow students and their families to know?

I think families should know that our group won’t give up on trying to help ourselves and others no matter what because we are one together and we should be there for everyone not just those who are with us.

How can the school best support you in creating safe spaces for your communities?

The school can best support us by putting up posters and having more people we can talk to about our problems here.

 

Jose : Prefers Josie – 8th grade

Why did you decide to become a part of GSA?

I decided to be in the GSA community because I have friends that support it, and are LGBT also. They support me and I feel that it is a safe place.

What drives you to create awareness about issues impacting the LGBTQIA communities?

What drives me to create awareness is the understanding of people pronouns and their identity, also the safety of other folks. Also, the impact I can have on others lives and they can have around other folks.

What are some messages you believe are important for teachers, staff, fellow students and their families to know?

Teacher, students, parents, and staff members should know that students or folks around the world have been bullied. They should know that the GSA community is together and won’t give up no matter what is in our way or blocking us. We will always work hard and keep going forward.

How can the school best support you in creating safe spaces for your communities?

Something that the school can do is build an all gender neutral bathroom so they can make LGBT folks comfortable and safe. The school could also pass out LGBT festival flyers so others could join in and not feel left out.

 

As a network that values the humanity of every single person in our community, we thank our scholars for continuously pushing us to be better through their ongoing leadership on LGBTQ+ issues as well as other important issues that impact the lives of so many in our communities.

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