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Day of Silence rally set for Wesley Foundation

April 11, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University will serve as host to a rally for the national Day of Silence from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, on campus in the Wesley Foundation.

The day brings together high school and college students of all sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions in a Day of Silence to protest the bullying, harassment and name-calling faced by lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender--LBGT--youth every day in school.

The greater-Kalamazoo event will feature guest speakers, including Kalamazoo Mayor Hannah McKinney; refreshments; and informational tables with materials on local organizations such as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. The WMU student group OUTspoken will hold a silent protest during much of April 18 at the University's West Campus Promenade.

The local rally is being organized and sponsored by student groups at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College and WMU as well as the Kalamazoo Gay/Lesbian Resource Center, the Wesley Foundation and WMU's Office of LBGT Student Services.

"The Day of Silence is especially relevant in our area because LBGT students are still being bullied and harassed on college campuses," says OUTspoken president Maggie Walters, "and they're still being discriminated against in high schools."

Eric Fleming, coordinator of community support services for the Kalamazoo Gay/Lesbian Resource Center, says he hopes the rally will help end some of the silence and hatred students face. "There is no school that is perfectly free of bullies, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to make that a reality," Fleming says.

For more information, contact Eric Fleming at fleming_e@sbcglobal.ne or (269) 349-4234 or Sarah Stangl, WMU Office of LBGT Student Services coordinator, at lbgt-coordinator@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2123. Directions to the greater-Kalamazoo rally and a link to the national Day of Silence Web site are available online at www.lbgt.wmich.edu.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
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