About 30 students of various sexual orientations met at Centennial Court at 6 p.m. on Wednesday to “break” the silence held in observance of the Day of Silence.
The Day of Silence, first observed by in 1996 by 150 students at the University of Virginia, uses silence as a means of protest against violence towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people. In 2003, more than 1,900 schools observed the Day of Silence, with an estimated 100,000 students participating.
Karen Yarbrough, a senior Secondary Education major from Lenoir City, participated to show her support for her LGBT friends.
‘‘I almost slipped up a couple of times,’’ Yarbrough told the Jackson Sun, about the vow of silence. “I managed. It made me feel awkward, but I’m glad I did it. It was worth it.’‘
UTM’s observation was organized as a joint effort of the UTM and Jackson ALLIES. The groups chose to protest all hate crimes rather than just hate crimes against LGBT individuals.
Other than UTM, area universities and high schools participating include: Milan High School, Obion County Central High School, South Side High School, University School of Jackson, Murray State University, Tennessee Technological University, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Vanderbilt University.