July 4, 2020

25th Anniversary for Day of Silence, Friday, April 24

The following message is from the Office of Equity and Access.

Friday, April 24th, will mark the 25th Anniversary for Day of Silence*. We are asking the UMW Community to virtually participate in this vital event. We may not be able to create a rainbow of shirts on the grass of Ball Circle, but the UMW community continues to affirm an inclusive and supportive community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) citizens and allies. We can demonstrate this by letting our voice be heard via #UMWisHOME and we must #breakthesilence.

Here is a toolkit to help make your voice heard on Friday, April 24th, during the Annual Day of Silence:

  • At 12pm, create a virtual “Moment of Silence” by posting our unified image to your individual or UMW affiliated accounts on social media. Please see attached images for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can add any of the following information from GLSEN to your post:

o   Our silence is LOUD!

o   I’m staying silent on GLSEN’s Day of Silence, a national youth movement highlighting the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people at school.

o   Nearly 4 in 5 LGBTQ students don’t see positive representation in their curriculum, nearly 9 in 10 experience verbal harassment, and almost a third miss school because they feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

  • At 4pm, “Break the Silence!”

o   By answering the prompt, I AM BREAKING THE SILENCE BY…?

  • Submit to PRISM for a re-post:
  • DM PRISM (@umwprism) with your story
  • Email PRISM (umwprism@gmail.com) with your story
  • Your name will not be shared through the repost nor will you be tagged. However, pictures and/or videos are not private if we repost them.
  • Post your response to your social media account, if it is a safe space for you to do so.

o   Follow PRISM (@umwprism) on Instagram to view submitted prompt responses.

In keeping with our values outlined in ASPIRE, join us in celebrating the 25th Annual Day of Silence.

People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual and Gender Minorities (PRISM)
Center for Prevention and Education
James Farmer Multicultural Center
Office of Title IX
Safe Zone
Talley Center for Counseling Services
Vice President for Equity and Access & Chief Diversity Officer

Information on resources and support can be found on SAFE ZONE’s webpage.

* Day of Silence was first organized by a student at the University of Virginia in 1996 as part of a class project. The following year almost 100 colleges and universities participated, making it a national event. College and university students have driven and participated in many movements throughout history, and the UMW Community is no exception. This includes Day of Silence powered by PRISM, a student-led organization that promotes the values of diversity and acceptance of students of sexual and gender minorities.

In 2000, Day of Silence became an official initiative with GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network).

UMW, Other Virginia Campuses Hold Virtual ‘Take Back the Night’

Take Back the Night – an international event that aims to end sexual, relationship and domestic violence in all forms – has had many incarnations since its inception more than 35 years ago, from rallies, marches and performances, to runs, walks and biking events. Now, with the looming presence of COVID-19, the event went virtual for the first time ever. Take Back the Night for 2020 is Take Back the Net.

Held as an annual speak-out and candlelight vigil at Mary Washington for over two decades, the event brings together the University and Fredericksburg communities to share personal stories of resilience and recovery, stand up against sexual assault and gender-based violence, and let survivors know they are not alone.

Unable to assemble in person, UMW Eagles joined electronically with colleges and universities across the Commonwealth for Take Back the Net on Tuesday evening. Spearheaded by the Virginia Campus Task Force, this Zoom gathering featured survivors, advocates and allies, including several Mary Washington students and alumni. The event came as higher education institutions nationwide observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April. Read more.