A thunderous silence

On the count of three, everybody scream.

As part of the national Youth Day of Silence, VISION invited students to gather in front of the Union and “break the silence” by letting out one big scream. Youth Day of Silence is a day where members and allies of the gay and lesbian community spend most of the day in silence and end the day with a bang.

“We want everyone to hear us,” said James Offenhartz, Activism Chair of VISION.

VISION is the University’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, Intersexual, Asexual, Questioning and Ally Community.

At 8 p.m. last night about 10 students from VISION and other campus organizations gathered in a circle to make a statement about discrimination. After sharing a loud scream in unison, they passed around a microphone to talk about why they were making a statement.

Almost every day Offenhartz said he is offended by someone on campus who makes a comment such as “that’s so gay.” He wants the public to know words like “gay” and “faggot” are just as offensive as any racial slur.

“We want people to know that words like that are just hurtful,” Offenhartz said. “And to tell people that homophobia is not okay.”

The big idea is to inform the community and to eventually phase out homophobia. Offenhartz said homophobia keeps people in the gay and lesbian community from getting married, adopting children and getting respect.

Derrick Daggett, junior, is going to be the Vice-president of VISION next year. He liked the idea of screaming in the middle of campus so he could vent everyday frustrations.

“It’s a good way to make it known what our lives are like,” Daggett said.

But as long as homophobia exists, he hopes people will fight against it.

Offenhartz invited several groups like both the College Republicans and College Democrats on campus to join VISION in their protest. Kari Russell, sophomore, also attended the event and is a member of Theta Alpha Phi which is the honorary theater fraternity on campus. Earlier this year, she participated in Silent Solidarity, a day of silence to represent all minorities, and Russell thought VISION’s Day of Silence was an nice extension of that effort.

Another VISION member Bethany Torres, junior, was also proud to be a part of the group which met last night.

“It’s not everyday that I can support in this kind of way,” she said. “It’s so nice to be in a group.”