Day of Silence at WC Speaks Volumes

By The Elm - Apr 21,2016@3:13 pm

By Emma Way
Editor in Chief
April 15 marked the annual Day of Silence event at Washington College and across the nation, recognizing LGBTQ+ individuals who have been bullied or harassed due to their sexual orientation. The day also doubled as a memoriam for LGBTQ+ individuals who have lost their lives.
This year, EROS (Encouraging Respect of Sexuality) focused on remembering one of their own. Chris Miller, a graduate of the Class of 2014 and a leader on campus and in EROS, took his own life last June while living and volunteering in Peru. In the week leading up to the Day of Silence and on April 15 itself, EROS partnered with Alpha Omega Pi to raise over $1,000 for the Chris Miller Fund, which provides financial support for students who want to study abroad.
“Chris had a passion to travel and learn about the world. This fund will allow more students to do just that,” said Carl Crowe, former associate dean of students and director of Residence Life.
Crowe met Miller as a first-year student, but got to know more him as a resident assistant. “He had a genuineness to him that made him approachable and accessible,” Crowe said. “He did not judge. Instead, he accepted all members into the community and encouraged them to get engaged academically and socially.”
As an RA, Miller was a role model for others and was awarded with the RA of the Year award in 2013.
On the Day of Silence and the week of, members of EROS and AOII collected donations through a bake sale and a table on April 15 to not only raise money for the Chris Miller Fund but also to raise awareness of the silence faced by individuals in the LGBTQ+ community.
“Suicide rates are higher with LGBTQ+ individuals,” said senior Matthew Davies. According to the Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline for LGTQ+ youth, LGBTQ+ youth are four times as likely to attempt suicide compared to their straight peers.
According to Davies, the event was about more than just achieving their $1,000 financial goal. It was about making sure “the essence of Chris Miller trickled down into the freshman class because…the majority of people that knew him here are graduating.”
“This school meant a lot to him, so I really want his spirit and his altruism to be seated somewhere,” Davies said.
Crowe said, “He wanted to change the world. You know what, I thought he definitely would, and he did. His energy and vibrancy remain as part of the culture at WC.”
With the Day of Silence, WC remembers Miller and LGBTQ+ individuals who were silenced because of their sexual orientation.

The Elm

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