When Silence Speaks Volumes

As you may know, today is the 12th Annual National Day of Silence, an annual observation in which students across the country take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) harassment faced by individuals in schools.

This year's event is being held in memory of one of my constituents, Lawrence "Larry" King, who was killed earlier this year in an act of anti-gay violence at E.O. Green Junior High.

Larry was a 15 year-old student at E.O. Greene Junior High in Oxnard who was tragically killed earlier this year. He liked to draw, study bugs, crochet, and sing. But he was also repeatedly harassed in school because of his sexual orientation and gender expression.

He endured anti-gay taunts, slurs, and other forms of bullying. This harassment culminated in his death when, on February 12, 2008, he was shot in the head by his 14-year-old classmate.

Larry's death is an unspeakable tragedy.

It is also a sad reminder that pleas for help from our young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population are often met with silence.

The goal of the Day of Silence is to inspire change so that these types of tragedies never happen again. Today hundreds of thousands of concerned students across the nation will be taking some form of a vow of silence to remember Larry, and to bring attention to the name-calling, bullying and harassment experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their allies.

I commend the courage of every student participating in the Day of Silence. The efforts of these dedicated young people will bring much needed attention to the plight students like Larry face every single day.

Let's hope that we will soon live in a world where this type of discrimination and bullying is a thing of the past.