How Silence Can Speak A Thousand Words


National Day of Silence was a foreign concept to me until my freshman year in high school. National Day of Silence is a national peaceful protest where queer people and allies participate in a vow of silence to bring attention to the discrimination that queer individuals experience.

I quickly learned that it is not just about silence; it is a powerful statement. The silence speaks volumes—it is a testament to the struggles, the resilience, and the solidarity of the LGBTQIA2S+ community and its allies.

When I first heard of the National Day of Silence, I felt inspired and eager to make the day count for activism and awareness. I was ready to lend my silence as a voice for those who had been silenced by discrimination, bigotry, and hate. When I woke up on a crisp Friday morning, I was prepared to rest my vocal cords and stay silent for the queer individuals who have suffered from discrimination. I had a sticky note explaining I was participating in the vow of silence so I could inform teachers and fellow students. Many other students were unaware of this event and swiftly joined in by resting their voices for the day to bring awareness. I went the rest of the day without uttering a syllable.

Every moment I was silent, I was in deep thought about the plethora of hate this nation has seen, but also how far the LGBTQIA2S+ community has come.

At the end of the school day, our school’s Queer Straight Alliance and everyone who participated in the National Day of Silence, “broke their silence” and reflected on their experience. I have participated every year since that day, which has profoundly impacted me. My next year participating, I was familiar with the territory. I noticed many more allies and students participated and took it much more seriously.
This day made me truly reflect on how much of an impact the queer community can have on each other. For me, and for countless others in Santa Cruz County and beyond, the National Day of Silence holds a special significance.

It is a day that reminds us of our shared humanity, our shared struggles, and our shared dreams of a world where love knows no bounds and silence is no longer necessary to be heard. The more people participate in this vow of silence, the stronger our community will become.
The National Day of Silence has evolved from a distant concept to a deeply personal and transformative experience for me.

As I’ve witnessed the evolution of participation and awareness, I’ve realized the transformative power of collective action. Every vow of silence, every shared moment of reflection, contributes to a broader movement towards equality and acceptance.

By Sion Erkiletian, they/them, is a 16-year-old junior at Delta High School in Aptos. They are part of Santa Cruz County’s Queer and Trans Youth Council and Youth for Environmental Action. Sion has a passion for social justice and animals. Sion has always sought to make a difference in their county. (Photo credit: Rebecca Stark Photography)














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