The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham breaks the silence with the Ukuladies, FACE, and an open mic night

Friday, April 17 marked the 19th annual Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Day of Silence. This demonstration started in 1996 at the University of Virginia by a group of students. Regardless of sexual orientation, students assemble once a year to create the single largest student-led action dedicated to creating safer schools for all students and recognizing those who have been silenced or repressed because of their sexuality.

Chatham took part in the movement with This is Me! Gay-Straight Alliance at the forefront. Students held their tongues throughout the day, and This is Me! members Jessica Keller and Fia Nicoloso brought awareness to the day at a table in Anderson Dining Hall. Curious passersby were directed to informational cards to answer their questions.

Later on that day, a Breaking the Silence Party took place to end the demonstration on a high note.

“I made this event because back at my high school it was a tradition after the Day of Silence to have a Breaking the Silence party,” said sophomore Maggie McGovney, president of This is Me!, “[We] celebrate [having] our voices, unlike some people. “

The event took place in the Rea Coffeehouse and welcomed all students–even those who did not participate in the Day of Silence.

The Ukuladies, Chatham’s Ukulele Club consisting of Jessica Keller, Maggie McGovney, Fia Nicoloso, and Evalynn Dolores, took the stage first. They began with their first set that contained four songs, with a group member giving each song an in-depth explanation of its connection to the significance of the night.

A game presented by FACE followed the music. A slight twist on the app Heads Up, the names of famous people who openly identify as homosexual were taped to players’ backs. Players then tried to guess the celebrity. From Elton John to Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the options were limitless.

Another set by the Ukuladies followed the game before the open mic. During the open mic, there were seven artists, three of which were reading their poems aloud for the first time.

“It was very fun because all of my friends were there, so it wasn’t like it was nerve wracking,” said first time reader, Kara Doss. “It was also fun to see everyone else perform and read stuff like their poetry for the first time.”

Eventually the night wound down, and the celebration for marginalized youth in the LGBTQ community began to come to an end.

“I came to this event because I participated in the Day of Silence, and I wanted to see how this would be. I enjoyed it. I had fun. I heard great music, and the ukulele club was great,“ said Saron Belay, a first year LGBTQ supporter.

As for this event continuing into the future, McGovney had a few words.

“I am stepping down as president this year, so I won’t be running [This is Me!],” she said, “But I’m going to hope that people continue the tradition and that it becomes a tradition [at Chatham]. “

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