Concert to raise LGBT awareness
UW-Eau Claire’s Women’s and LGBTQ resource center will be hosting a Break the Silence concert in honor of the national movement known as the Day of Silence.
According to the movement’s website, the Day of Silence will be held nationwide on April 20. The day is a time when people can voluntarily choose not to speak for a whole day in order to help raise awareness for the LGBTQ community.
Eau Claire’s LGBTQ program coordinator Chris Jorgenson said the concert will contain speakers and performers such as 5th Element, Audacious, and Dr. Barbara Kernan.
He added that each performing group, or person, will have taped a short video introduction. This introduction explains why they’re performing at the concert and what they will be performing. He says the way that the concert is set up facilitates communication between the audience and those who are onstage.
“It is a way to call attention to the silencing of the LGBTQ community and the bullying of the LGBTQ community,” he said.I “t is a way to call attention to the voices that are silenced on a daily basis.”
He said the LGBTQ community has undergone a large amount of bullying and misunderstanding.
“There are very few people who are middle of the road when it comes to the LGBTQ community and their rights,” he said. “I think there is potential for discrimination and bigotry and violence in absolutely any community.”
Assistant to the Chancellor of the Affirmative Action Office Teresa O’ Halloran said she has heard a lot of discrimination directed toward LGBTQ community.
“It is one of those accepted name callings, such as ‘that’s so gay, and ‘queer,’” she said. “ It’s almost constant. It’s an atmosphere of fear for some folks who are gay on campus.”
She said that discrimination does not always have to be seen or heard to be present. She used the example of when a same sex couple fears going out in public because they do not want to be harassed for their sexual orientation, with their freedom of living the way they choose to being threatened.
This problem, among many others, is what Jorgenson wants to help bring attention to with his concert. He wants voices to actually be heard and understood.
“It provides an opportunity for departments across campus, different offices across campus, and all members of the community whether that be faculty, staff or students to come together to be entertained … and to break the silence,” Jorgenson said.
The Break the Silence concert is at 7 p.m. on April 16 in the Council Fire Room of Davies. It is free to all who wish to attend in hopes to bring a voice to those who have been silenced by a community.
“You have to speak up,” O’Halloran said. Even if it sounds stupid, just stand up for other people. Being an ally in that way is very important.”