Members of Pinecrest club, Spectrum, plan on participating in a Day of Silence this Friday.
“Mr. Faw had brought up us participating in the day of silence since we’re a new club at school,” Pinecrest senior and Spectrum President Jacora Watkins said.
According to dayofsilence.org, the Day of Silence is a student-led national event, created decades ago, that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.
According to the site, “students take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.”
“There are a lot of people who have to be silent on this campus because of who they are,” Watkins said. “It is not as bad at Pinecrest as it is in some places, but there are some people who are silent. I am excited to participate in this cause.”
Pinecrest Theater teacher Adam Faw helped students start up Spectrum, after years of not having an LGBT club on campus.
“Our club covers a wide spectrum of people, not just those who are LGBT but allies as well,” Watkins said. “We had talked about starting up a club like this in the past but we finally got around to establishing it in January.”
At Spectrum meetings, club members have a round table discussion of current events and issues going on in today’s society, but also participate in team building activities. Twelve students attended the club’s last meeting.
“The theater is a safe haven for a lot of gay people,” Watkins said. “We hope that they find this a safe place for them to talk about things they’re facing in society.”
The Day of Silence will be the first event hosted by the club. On Friday morning, the group of students participating plan on gathering in front of the flag pole before school starts and discussing their day. Then, they will begin their silence, speaking only when they are called on in class or have to address teachers.
At the end of the day, the students plan on reconvening where they will discuss what went on during their day and break their silence. Faw got the event approved by teachers and administrators beforehand, informing them about what the students plan to do.
“There may be a few eyebrows raised and questions posed about what we’re doing and that is fine,” Faw said. “But we don’t see there being any backlash coming from participating in the event. We’re hoping that we’re going about this event the correct way so there is nothing for people to backlash against.”
For Watkins, this is a way for her to have her voice be heard in a unique way.
“There are so many people out there fighting and trying to have their voices be heard,” Watkins said. “If we’re silent, we’ve said everything that we’ve needed to say. It is about being who I am and I have nothing else to give but me.”
The members of Pinecrest Spectrum are hopeful for the club’s future, thanks to the support of the community and Sandhills Pride.
“Every member of Spectrum has been supportive,” club member Noah Ambrose said. “We want this to be a safe space for everyone and we want it to grow.”
For Faw, this club is a bittersweet experience for him.
“Its amazing that this is 2016 and this is a new club on campus,” Faw said. “I’m more than happy to supervise it and have students involved but it is sad that we need a specific club for this cause.”
A previous version of this story said that the Day of Silence was in response to House Bill 2 and that Faw approached students with the idea for the club. The text has been changed to reflect that the Day of Silence was created long before HB2, in response to the bullying of LGBT students, and that the creation of the club was a collaborative effort.