• Making noise: working towards eliminating the need for Day of Silence

  • Last week my family and I volunteered at the after party for youth who took part in the county wide Day of Silence.  During the school day, participating youth chose to not speak at all, in efforts to bring attention to the need for a stronger stance against bullying of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.  The silence is two fold, according to the teens.   It indicated the most common reaction to this bullying, which is no response at all.   The silence also represented the students who are no longer in school because they were victims of that bullying.  

    ​When listening to the students break their vow of silence and share their reasons for taking part, I felt many different things, sadness, fear, loss.  But the loudest reaction I had was a sense of significant responsibility.  As an adult, I have to make some noise.  I have to speak out.  We as adults in the world of young people set an example.  That example has to include challenging any form of bullying,  in the moment, and out loud.  Because what happens if we as adults allow comments like “that’s so gay” to just roll by?  The kids who are targeted are at risk of dropping out of school, developing depression and anxiety, becoming physically assaulted, and considering ending their life as a way out.  And that is simply unacceptable. 

    ​My  want is to forge a world where there is no longer a need for a Day of Silence,   where young people are not bullied and hurt because they identify as or are assumed to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.  So I took a vow that day as well.  I recommitted to doing my part to stop and prevent bullying at every opportunity.  I will not be silent.   I am hoping you will  do the same.  

    ​If you know of a young person who is the target of bullying, please not only speak out, but reach out.  Bullying can quickly overwhelm youth, who then feel isolated and unsure of where or how to get help.  Supports in our community include GLSEN, Center for Youth and Lifeline, to name just a few.   Knowing that someone cares enough to reach out can be a turning point for some of our youth most at risk, and can truly be a life saving measure. 

    ​Thank you.
    ​-Keli Cahill LCSW 

    ​*Day of Silence was sponsored by GLSEN, and events coordinated by Jess Cohen.  More information can be found at: