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Students' voice values by staying silent

(L-R) LU PRIDE Secretary Kathy Ngo, President Arianah Rivera, Vice-President Ceci Wood, and member Hugo Hawes. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Orsino

On an especially quiet afternoon, a group of student activists gathered in an equally hushed Arnow Campus Center to collect their thoughts.

April 12 earned distinction on campus as the Day of Silence, a demonstration organized by Lasell University PRIDE. At 4 p.m. that afternoon, the participants gathered to break their silence and discuss the events of the day.

“Basically, the Day of Silence is a peaceful protest where we all remain silent for the first half of the day,” explained LU PRIDE President and senior biology major Arianah Rivera. “It's an event that was started in—I believe—1996 by a group of college students. They felt that there was a lot of bullying and harassment that was not talked about in universities and education.”

The group continued the discussion by explaining that the demonstration is primarily about intention. Vice President and junior English major Ceci Wood described her own experience with staying silent: “We did the Day of Silence at my high school, so I was already familiar with it. I feel really hopeful for the future of this campus in terms of creating spaces for queer voices and advocating for queer voices.”

Wood went on to cite a queer literature course they and LU PRIDE member and sophomore Hugo Hawes are currently enrolled in, which centers around a student-made curriculum based on reading and discussing queer literature. “It's just been so nice to get to be able to have conversations and feel safe about it. And I think by holding the Day of Silence, we're continuing that,” Hawes said.

Hawes voiced his own reasons for participating in the demonstration. “I have had constant issues with my teachers; being misgendered, that sort of thing, where I'd like to be able to have a peaceful protest that directly highlights the issues that I face,” Hawes stated.

“I like this event because it raises awareness not just around the students, but also the faculty and staff, which I think is very important because they are not often included in conversations like this, but they are an important part of the student experience,” Hawes explained.

Both in and out of the classroom, the Day of Silence had a wide-reaching impact on the Lasell Community. LU PRIDE Secretary and senior communication major Kathy Ngo described a recent interaction with a resident of Lasell Village who expressed interest and support for the group’s efforts.

“Arianah and I actually tabled at the Village on Wednesday, and it was just interesting to hear an older person's perspective on the issue. I know a lot of the Villagers are alumni at Lasell, and… I know there was one woman I spoke to, she was like, ‘I never thought that Lasell would be doing something like this, looking back at it now.’”

The group ultimately agreed that the Day of Silence was successful, deeply meaningful, and an initiative that LU PRIDE would wholeheartedly organize and participate in again for years to come.


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