Rainbow Alliance Runs “Day of Empathy” To Encourage Discussion By LGBT Youth

Friday, June 1st, had the distinction of being Hanover High School’s first “Day of Empathy,” an event hosted by the school’s Rainbow Alliance club meant to encourage students to learn and/or talk about living as an LGBT person in their community.

The day included an open mic session during activity period where people could choose to talk to a larger group of people about things that were troubling them. Many students and staff also wore stickers that they could use to indicate whether they planned to use Day of Empathy for “listening” or “speaking” or both, along with their reasons. At the end of the day, all of the stickers were posted onto a single wall.

The wall of stickers.

The wall of stickers.

Oliver Hawke and Nevé Monroe-Anderson, two people who helped organize the event, both spoke with the Broadside in-person. Monroe-Anderson explained that the idea for Day of Empathy came out of an event sponsored by prominent LGBT organization GLSEN called Day of Silence, which was described as an event where “everybody is quiet to help to show that there are a lot of populations that are silenced, especially LGBT youth who are stuck in the closet.” Monroe-Anderson continued that the club wanted to host an event where “people who like speaking out and are affected by these issues, who could talk about them, and who wanted other people to be committed to hear what they are saying and be ready to listen and engage in a meaningful conversation about them.” Thus came Day of Empathy.

When asked about their thoughts on the event’s impact, Hawke said, “I think it wasn’t quite as widespread as I hoped it would be, but for the people that took part, it did have an impact.” Monroe-Anderson voiced a desire to lead a similar event next year at HHS, but this time with more planning and more involvement from the student body. “There are definitely more things in the works,” said the Rainbow Alliance member.

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