The Day of Silence and Walkout: Interview with Pride Club

Clara Golner, Staff Reporter

Photo taken by Maya Sherlick. Sign used at the Walkout.

April 14th, 2023, was the national day of silence. ACC participated in this event and the following Tuesday, April 18th, several students walked out to fight for their rights. Here we explore the behind-the-scenes of the program thanks to Maya Sherlick, a senior in ACC’s Pride Club.

What is the history behind the Day of Silence? 

It’s a national event that happens every year and fights for various causes. This year ACC’s Pride Club decided we wanted to take part. Part of the Day of Silence is standing out against issues, so we explained the problems that are happening around the U.S. and got the word around about homophobia around the country.

What inspired you to help organize the day of silence and subsequent walkout at ACC?

We were talking at pride club and realized, “Hey, it’s scary what’s going on,” and we wanted to do something, even if it isn’t much.

Several students gave testimonies at the Day of Silence assembly and the walkout. Did any stand out to you?

The general thought behind all of them was really powerful. As a cis person (someone who identifies with their gender assigned at birth), I can’t necessarily relate to some sentiments shared by trans people, so it was a good opportunity for others to have a voice. Students like myself aimed to let the people whose voices matter speak, while using their advantages (being cis and white) to help empower others’ voices.

Do you have any advice for other cis and/or white kids who want to speak up but not overstep?

Use your voice when it matters. There are instances when people won’t listen to trans youth, especially those that aren’t white. Allowing them to speak while also speaking on behalf of them is important. Using your platform to promote others’ voices is important, and especially remember that you don’t know what they’re going through, so let them tell their own story.

Were there any challenges while planning?

There was a bit of an issue getting approval from the school. The process took a while, and it got very close to the deadline so there was trouble as to whether or not we would get it in time. Pride Club is a small club, so it’s hard to tell if these events could happen. Time was not on our side but it came out okay in the end.

As a follow-up: what would you say to someone next year who is trying to organize the day of silence and walk out?

Start earlier: we started pride club halfway through the year and I wanted to have it at the school, so I started it, but it was late. Planning things in advance is very helpful, especially if you need to get approval and materials and stuff like that. Trying to get more people involved is hard but as time goes on more people will be involved, so consistency is pretty important. Make sure throughout the entire year, in pride club, the events are consistent and that the school should let the school know that we are here and fighting for our rights.

On the other hand: what are things that went well during planning?

There was lots of support from students not in the Pride Club. It’s sometimes hard to get people to participate, and lots of people participated that weren’t in the Pride Club, which was good. The posters also went well, and the masks were very helpful so people could tell who was participating in the day of silence.

Are you hoping to continue working as an activist in the future? 

Definitely, in college, I’m going to one that’s diverse but still needs work, so I’m planning on going there and joining the pride club and continuing to work for our rights.

Interviewed: Maya Sherlick