A group of MCCC students took a vow of silence to draw attention to the bullying of people based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
The event, known as the Day of Silence, was Friday, April 20, and members of the MCCC Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) took part.
The club had a table set up in front of the Admission’s Office from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., where members of the group remained silent, handed out literature and displayed signs about their cause.
This is the second year that the GSA participated in the national event, which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
The Day of Silence is a day of action where students across the country take a form of silence to call attention to the effects of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) bullying and harassment in schools.
It was founded in 1996 at the University of Virginia. Since then it has flourished with almost 8,000 secondary schools, colleges and universities participating by 2008.
In 2001, GLSEN became the organizational sponsor of the event.
The network’s website gives legal advice to those who plan to take silence that day.
While participants do have the right to participate between classes and outside of school, they may not have the right to stay silent if a teacher requests them to speak.
Jeremy McGarry, member of the GSA, participated in the event and explained why he participated.
“I want to make a difference; no matter how small it may seem, it’s still creating a difference,” McGarry said.
“I am doing this because I want to make a difference in the world. I also just like helping people,” O’Shea said.
Later that day in an interview, Nixon shared his feelings on how appreciative he is to see the group active in an event such as Day of Silence.
“It’s important for students to learn more about it, it’s important for those who are affected personally to know that we are a open, welcoming community of learners here at MCCC,” Nixon said.
The GSA was awarded Outstanding Diversity Program/Event of the Year at Honor’s Night.
The group also received the Outstanding Student Program/Event of the Year for its Transgender Day of Remembrance, an event designed to bring awareness of the growing violence against transgendered people.
Nixon attended Honor’s Night and wanted to let the group know how proud he is of its accomplishments.
“It is a proud moment for an institution of higher learning to have that much student involvement. Of course we are very proud of the Gay-Straight Alliance students and the others involved in that to be honored at such a large public gathering such as Honor’s Night,” he said.
MCCC Gay-Straight Alliance hosted Nursat Ventimigila, Director of Victim Service from Equality Michigan, as a keynote speaker on Thursday, April 19.
Ventimigila spoke about students’ right with respect to GSAs and other LGBT related issues, bullying and harassment from a legal perspective.
Amanda Bennett, co-adviser of the GSA, gave insight as to why the speaker will be on campus.
“The group wanted to have an informational presentation to go along with the Day of Silence. When we found out that we could have someone from Equality Michigan come to speak, we jumped at this opportunity,” Bennett said.
Penny Bodell, another co-adviser of the GSA, explains the purpose behind having the keynote speaker.
“Equality Michigan’s purpose and goal is to promote equality for the LBGT community,” Bodell said.