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Youth Radio's Sayre Quevedo looks at the recent beating and sexual assault of a transgender woman in the Mission.
By Sayre Quevedo
Sitting in class, a friend tapped me on the shoulder and I ignored her, hoping she'd take the time to read the plaque hanging around my neck: Please understand my reason for not speaking today. I am participating in Day of Silence, a national "student protest" against the silence faced by the LGBTQ community and their allies.
About 100 kids at my school managed to stay silent the whole time while others simply wore the cards in support. I have been a part of Day of Silence for six years, and while I've stayed true to the nature of the event, a part of me wasn't totally invested.
I barely uttered a word all day, but after school I left to attend a rally in the Mission District where I yelled and chanted for transgender rights. The event was held outside the 16th Street BART station, where weeks earlier, a transgender woman named Mia Tu Mutch was punched and kicked to the ground.
The climate at the rally was electric. People held signs and chanted, but when I looked around I didn't see any of the kids who had been wearing the plaques at my school.
Out of my own experience, I know that it's not easy to be the one constantly educating and standing up, but if people my age can find solidarity in silence we should also be able to find it in speaking our minds.
Looking back, most of the people who did their first Day of Silence in middle school were like me, scared into isolation, and looking for some sense of community. But at the end of the day it felt like we hadn't changed anything. The people who bullied continued to bully, the silent stayed silent.
Now that I'm about to graduate high school, I find myself wondering what is the point of being silent one whole day if we're also silent the other 364.
With a Perspective, I'm Sayre Quevedo.