Last Friday you may have noticed a few of your fellow classmates were unusually quiet, many refraining from speaking at all. These were members of 1 In 10, a Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Transexual (GLBT) support group on Castleton’s campus, honoring what is known in the homosexual community as the Day of Silence. Held on the 25th of April, it was a day to mourn and honor students all across the country who have been victims of violence due to their sexual orientation.
This year’s Day of Silence was dedicated to the memory of Lawrence King, a 15 year old from California who was killed by a classmate, allegedly for being gay.
The Castleton protest, which concluded with a candle-light vigil in the Haskell-Adams courtyard, was organized by 1 In 10 president Laura Olson.
At the vigil at least 19 students came together to conclude a long, hard day with a somber sharing of words by candlelight.
The gathered stood in grim, poignant silence before Olson started with a round of encouragement. She said it was important not to dwell only on the sorrow of the day’s meaning, but also the awareness and tolerance they were working to accomplish.
“Yeah, this is sad, but we have to take comfort,” she said. “You have to see it for what’s to come.”
The others began outpouring from Olson’s example. Nyamah Thomas, a Castleton student, spoke of her long-time friend at a Washington, D.C. school who is gay that she long defended, and how she wishes there was a group like 1 In 10 there for him
“I still feel like I need to protect him,” she concludes, before choking up into tears.
Many of the students in attendance were not members of 1 In 10, but had come to offer respect and mourning because of the various flyers posted around campus, or because friends had brought them.
Olson said that she was extremely pleased with the turnout, and thought the Day of Silence vigil was a great success. “Tonight showed me first hand we reached someone.”
The 1 in 10 group is planning its next event, a campus carnival they are calling “Gay For Day”, to be held on May 10th.