fbpx National Day of (No) Silence
Authored by Nexus Family Healing on April 11, 2024

This week on April 12, 2024, is the National Day of Silence, a student-led protest that began in the 1990s where LGBTQ+ students and allies take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and education discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. As you may have seen in the news this past year, the LGTBQ+ community has been experiencing increased levels of discrimination with recent anti-trans legislation and limiting access to gender-affirming books, education, and medical care. The National Day of Silence is run by GLSEN, a national network of teachers, students, and activists whose mission is to ensure LGBTQ+ students feel safe and supported in schools. This year's theme is "Rise Up. Take Action." to speak out about the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ+ people in schools.

Here at Nexus Family Healing, we help provide mental health care and support to a variety of youth with different backgrounds, cultures, gender identities and sexualities. We want the youths in our care to feel safe and welcome, and feel it’s important to let caretakers, parents, and educators know about an opportunity to advocate for the LGBTQ+ students in their life.

“As part of that theme, educators across the country will spend the day speaking up in every space online and offline in defense of the rights of LGBTQ+ students.” Says GLSEN’S educators guide, found here. “In this time when LGBTQ+ students are being targeted, it is more critical than ever for adults to loudly claim a day of NO silence.”

Ways to Celebrate

At Nexus-Indian Oaks Family Healing, the National Day of Silence is an important day to many of the youth and staff. Through their Pride and Purpose group, LGBTQ+ youth can find affirmation and support. Besides recognizing the National Day of Silence, the group also organizes on-campus activities for Pride Month, Transgender Day of Visibility, and other events to recognize the LGBTQ+ community. 

Members of Nexus-Indian Oaks’ Pride and Purpose group have advocated along with other providers and allies for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ youth in their care. They've shared their personal experiences with DCFS, the American Civil Liberties Union, educators, and lawmakers across Illinois to address the needs of this vulnerable population. The Pride and Purpose group also testified for the Illinois House committee on human rights about using correct pronouns for youth in care and why it matters. The Pride and Purpose group is creating positive change for all youth in care.

For more resources on how you can recognize National Day of Silence, visit www.glsen.org/dayofsilence.

Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health servicesfoster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.