Contact: Abigail Fota, College Relations Associate - Media, 610-740-3790


Allentown, PA (April 20, 2004) - Students from Cedar Crest College are fighting out against injustice, using silence as their weapon. On Wednesday, April 21st, students will take part in The National Day of Silence. The Day of Silence institutes a visible silence, during which participants protest anti-LGBT discrimination and abuse. The event is sponsored by OutThere, a student organization that promotes tolerance for LGBT issues in the community.

In the past, the silencing of LGBT people and their allies has been the norm. Whether it is the lack of LGBT-inclusive material in educational resources or role assignments based upon assumed gender, silencing affects the community in a profound way. The Day of Silence focuses on using silence as a form of protest as it moves the power of personal experiences to a community-focused effort and reclaims silence as a tool. Such an effort also allows the community to reflect upon how powerful silencing can be.

Students who participate in the Day of Silence will wear a lanyard around their neck that holds the pledge of silence. The pledge states: I have chosen not to speak today because I believe all people should be treated fairly and equally. Equal rights should be given to everyone, independent of their economic status, race, sex, ethnicity, ability, or sexual orientation. I am bringing to your attention all of the people who have been silenced by hatred, oppression, prejudice, and discrimination. Take a moment to think about how you can end their silence.

"The objective of this program is to make the effects of silencing visible. Cedar Crest broadens the scope of the event by including racial and social injustice in general" says Karolina Matynia, Residence Life Coordinator and Coordinator of Diversity and International Programs at Cedar Crest. "By creating awareness and bringing the issues of oppression to the public, we are motivating people to take the next step towards correcting these problems."

This is the second time this academic year that Cedar Crest will be participating in the program. In the fall, OutThere organized Day of Silence during "Stop the Hate Day" on October 1, 2003 when 150 students participated in the event. Cedar Crest has been taking part in the national program since 2001.

Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. From the first-ever Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, to the organizing efforts in over 1,900 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the country in 2002, its textured history reflects its diversity in both numbers and reach.

Fore more information, please contact the College Relations Office at 610-740-3790.

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Abigail Fota
College Relations Associate - Media


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