Day of Silence


Ash Jewett

Anna Santmier, 12, handing out rainbow ribbon pins for Day of Silence

The first Day of Silence was practiced at the University of Virginia in 1996, however, since then the event has evolved into something much larger. The next year, over 100 colleges participated. The day that started with a single college, grew into a movement in 2001 when the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) became the official organizational sponsor with the mission of providing new funding and supporting students’ efforts in organizing activities for Day of Silence while still leaving majority of the planning and preparation to the students. Today GLSEN estimates “hundreds of thousands of students” participate each year. One school that has participated in the event since the formation of the club, is Mill Creek Pride Club. This year on April 22, 2022, Mill Creek was one of the many high schools across the nation to participate.

While many schools do participate in the actual vow of silence, how they choose to go about this is left up to the leaders. In Mill Creek’s case, these leaders were Pride Club’s two co-presidents and vice president. Co-President Anna Santmier, 12, elaborated on Day of Silence and how Mill Creek plans to participate. “Day of Silence is a national student-led vigil to raise awareness of the silencing of LGBTQ+ individuals in schools. Mill Creek Pride wants to bring awareness to the issue because it effects a good portion of our student body, and as students we strive to make our school more inclusive and safe for everybody.”

Just as the event has grown with time, the population of Mill Creek Students who participate has also grown. In the 2021 school year, there were about 15 participants, however, this school year over 45 people participated. “We expect about 40 participants,” Santmier had disclosed earlier in the week.

Although Santmier will be graduating in May, this tradition will not end with her. Mill Creek plans to participate in Day of Silence in the future.