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WHEREAS, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) strives to have students be valued and treated with respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; and
WHEREAS, in 1996, students at the University of Virginia organized the first Day of Silence in response to a class assignment on non-violent protests, with more than 150 students participating; and
WHEREAS,in 1997, organizers took their to the effort national level, and nearly 100 colleges and universities participated; and
WHEREAS, in 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event; and
WHEREAS,students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBTQ behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBTQ students and those perceived to be LGBTQ; and
WHEREAS, according to the GLSEN’s 2015 National School Climate Survey, only 22.4% of LGBTQ students were taught positive representations about LGBTQ people, history, or events in their schools, and 85.2% of LGBTQ students experienced verbal harassment; and
WHEREAS,the Day of Silence helps bring us closer to making anti-LGBTQ bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in schools;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize April 27, 2018, as GLSEN DAY OF SILENCE in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.