Students sit silently in the quad to send a message against bullying and harassment targeting the LGBT community. (Adam Jones)
Rainbow flags and colored handkerchiefs covered part of Saddleback College’s Student Services Quad last Thursday during the Gay Straight Alliance’s Day of Silence, as a part of the GLSEN.org National Day of Silence which was last Friday.
The National Day of Silence is a demonstration against bullying and harassment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network sponsors this event annually in order to raise awareness about the hardships suffered by victims of bullying and harassment.
Carmenmara Hernandez-Bravo, the faculty adviser to Saddleback’s GSA, was eager to recruit students to join in the event, and handed out fliers and spoke to students before the silence began.
At 11 a.m. the group began their demonstration, tying handkerchiefs over their mouths to signify their silence.
Over the course of the hour, more than 70 students stopped by to show their support. At its peak, the event had 45 students sitting silently.
“The idea is to send a message,” said Hernandez-Bravo. “A lot of people came and sat and supported the gay community.”
She was pleased with the turn out despite the other activities going on in the quad that were blocking visibility of the event.
Hernandez-Bravo and the GSA had put up fliers about the event around campus during the week prior, and noticed that a large number of the fliers had been removed.
The group was not discouraged, however, and was surprised when people even turned down free candy given away by Saddleback’s Associated Student Government in support of Awareness Week.
Saeed Marandi, 18, communications and music, and Camellia Mazhar, 19, psychology, supported GSA by handing out lollipops with facts about the LGBT community wrapped around them.
“Today was LGBT awareness. Monday was domestic violence awareness, Tuesday was drug abuse awareness, [And Wednesday] was mental health awareness.” said Mazhar, in reference to ASG’s Awareness Week. “So [ASG] just decided to have the table on the same day as [GSA] to combine the message.”