Burlingame recognizes Day of Silence


Arshia Chakravartti

The GSA placed boxes with sticker, pins and cards for students to take on Day of Silence, which was held at Burlingame on Friday, April 8.

Samantha Johnstone, Managing Editor

Two college students started GLSEN Day of Silence in the mid 1990s; 30 years later, it’s a nationally-recognized day with hundreds of thousands of students taking a vow of silence to raise awareness about the the dangers of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ+ students. The organization is officially holding Day of Silence on April 22, but Burlingame held their own on Friday, April 8.

The Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) organized the day, and club president and senior Kimberlly Baldwin wanted to ensure that students who took a vow of silence were well-supported. She coordinated with the administration and notified teachers that students may be choosing to not speak in first and third period classes.

“Peaceful protesting is allowed. And their silence is considered a peaceful protest against the harmful effects of bullying on those in the LGBTQ+ community,” Baldwin said. 

Also in preparation, Baldwin placed boxes near three entrances in the A building after-school on Thursday that contained stickers and pins so that students, regardless of participation in the vow of silence, could show their support for the community. The boxes also contained speaker cards so students could notify teachers of their vow of silence. 

“It asked those who read the card to respect your decision and think about the voices they weren’t hearing today,” Baldwin said. 

Baldwin described the day as a “personal thing” for most people, and opted to not hold an event at lunch out of respect. However, the GSA postered the walls with flyers the week before as a way to bring awareness to the greater school community and hopefully gain more participants. Baldwin herself first participated in Day of Silence in eighth grade and remembers it as a moment of personal growth. 

“Back then, I was a little more scared to show that I was a part of the community and my allyship with it,” Baldwin said. “Day of Silence serves to be such a subtle and personal way of showing alliances with the community and honoring everything that those in the community have gone through.”

This sentiment is shared by junior Adrian Zhang, who previously ran the GSA at Burlingame Intermediate School.

“You know, allies and queer people are everywhere. So when you’re being homophobic, even if it’s indirectly, those [silent] are the people. This is the number, this is the magnitude of people’s voices you are silencing,” Zhang said. “So be aware of who you might be affecting when or before you are saying something homophobic or transphobic.”