ECC to hold Day of Silence on Sept. 24
The Ellsworth Community College Diversity Committee will sponsor a Day of Silence on Tuesday, Sept. 24, to honor and reflect on individuals and groups who are disenfranchised, in our own society and around the world. Some classrooms will be silent that day, and all employees and students are encouraged to participate to the greatest extent possible by wearing a mask over their mouths and not speaking for the day. There will be a special push for participation from 11:30 am to 1 pm.
“The Day of Silence started as a national movement held in March to lift up Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) individuals and groups,” explains Diversity Committee member Orintheo (OJ) Payne. “What we’re doing is expanding the focus of our event to include other individuals and groups who may feel like they don’t have a voice in today’s society … abuse victims, homeless and jobless individuals, those who suffer from depression or mental illness, those with addictions, those who are terminally ill, those who are shy, and so many others.”
Posters will be placed around the campus and masks handed out during the day so all can participate.
“We’re making the small gesture of wearing the masks and being silent to encourage our staff and students to reflect on the circumstances of those who can’t speak out on their own behalf, for one reason or another,” says Payne. “We hope to open people’s eyes and minds to issues and challenges that they aren’t normally aware of. Life isn’t always sunshine and bright happy smiles for everyone, and life is certainly more difficult and painful for some than for others. Our goal is for students and staff to connect with that reality and develop a greater understanding and appreciation for it.”